New BSL videos making sport accessible

Wednesday 23 October

Video clips to help sport coaches and leaders learn basic, sports related British Sign Language (BSL) to support children with hearing loss are being launched.

The clips have been created by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) in partnership with several of the UK’s leading sports organisations, including England Athletics and England Netball. Featuring key sport words and phrases that have been signed in British Sign Language (BSL), the short films are designed to help coaches communicate with deaf children during training sessions.

Available at, the BSL video clips are split into popular sporting activities, such as football, swimming, cricket, athletics, tennis and netball, as well as general sport. They aim to show, how through taking simple steps, coaches can address some of the communication challenges that many deaf children face, for instance missing out on what a coach says or not being able to hear a whistle blow. 

Hayley Jarvis, Head of Inclusive Activities at NDCS, said: “It’s fantastic that the UK’s leading sport organisations have supported our ongoing work to break down barriers in sport for children with hearing loss. Involving deaf children in sport is brilliant for their confidence and self-esteem. It is sad though, that too many deaf children are currently being denied the opportunity to swim or play tennis, because clubs and centres don’t know how to fully meet their needs.

“Deafness is not a barrier to taking part in sport. By following simple steps like learning basic BSL signs, leaders and coaches can create a welcoming, deaf-friendly atmosphere in their club. We hope all sport clubs will have a go at learning the key signs and help create equal opportunities for deaf children to enjoy sport.”

Mitchell Price, aged 17, who plays for Cardiff City Deaf FC and Wales Deaf Football Team, said: “Having a coach who had learnt a little BSL made a big difference for me during coaching sessions. Coaches who are deaf aware know how to communicate with players with various levels of deafness and can make everyone feel included. Sometimes it is noisy in the sport hall and with the coach signing it ensures we all know what we are expected to do.”

There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. With the right support in place, deaf children can thrive and achieve as well as other children. However, without the right support, deaf children are vulnerable to social isolation, low self-esteem and underachievement in school.

NDCS runs the Me2 Deaf-Friendly Project, which aims to support sport and leisure organisations include deaf children in their activities, delivering training and offering resources on deaf awareness.

The BSL video clips have been created in partnership with the UK’s leading sport bodies, such as England Athletics, UK Deaf Athletics, Golf Foundation, English Golf Union, Welsh Golf Union, England Netball, English Cricket Board, English Cricket Association for the Deaf and the British Canoe Union.

To find out more about becoming a deaf-friendly sports club or to access activities in your area, visit or call the NDCS Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880.

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Video clips to help sport coaches and leaders learn basic, sports related British Sign Language (BSL) to