ATHLETE PROFILE - Jean-Michel Doucet Boudreau - Goalball
Jean-Michel has been playing goalball since 2006. He represented New Brunswick at the Canadian Junior National Championship from 2007 to 2011, winning a bronze medal in 2010 (New Brunswick's first medal in the tournament's history). Here are his comments on his path in goalball.
“I have been playing the sport of goalball for several years now. I remember when I started in 2006, I was 16. The same year a few months before I learned that I had a visual impairment, retinitis pigmentosa. This condition is a degenerative eye disease that causes the eye to lose peripheral vision. At this point I was not interested in goalball but kept playing.
Our first tournaments we lost all our games with a gap of 10 goals but we were not discouraged. We were a team that had fun playing together. What made me love goalball was my first goal in our third tournament, I will always remember it. After that moment everything changed. I took the practices and games more seriously to improve myself so that I could score more goals and help my team win. My best moments in goalball are without a doubt the first games that we won and the goal in the shootout to win our first bronze medal.
Today I realize that my vision has diminished. For me, I don't feel like I have a disability. I'm like everyone else except that I don’t see as well and my glasses are bigger. I am extremely happy to play goalball. It has helped me a lot to develop my focus, my communication, my stamina and especially for my self-esteem. Now I can't wait for the next practice, game or tournament. I'm glad I still have the chance to play goalball. "