AFL Queensland today announced Dayne Beams as the Queensland Disability Inclusion Ambassador.
The Brisbane Lions star will work with AFL Queensland to promote awareness of the opportunities to play Australian football that are available to people with a disability.
Beams said he was drawn to the role through personal experience.
Mark, brother of his partner Kelly, has Down Syndrome, which Beams said has opened his eyes to the needs of people with disabilities.
“It’s been great for me and great for my development as a person,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to getting involved with this next group of kids because I think it’s really important that they feel part of a team sport.
“I’m excited to be working with AFL Queensland on this initiative and the opportunities that it will provide for men, women and children with disabilities to participate in football.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics cites 20% of Australians as having some form of disability.
Accordingly, the AFL is dedicated to making it easy for people with disabilities to participate in Australian football including playing, coaching, officiating and administering the game.
AFL Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Michael Conlan, said the Beams appointment would assist in educating the community and encouraging participation.
“Australian football is a game for everyone and we are committed to ensuring that opportunities to play the game are accessible to all,” said Conlan.
“Dayne is one of the most recognisable faces in the AFL and his support will go a long way to promoting our disability inclusion initiatives.”
Beams’ first official engagement will be at the Queensland State Inclusion Trials on Monday June 14 where he will provide encouragement to participants trying out for the Queensland state inclusion squad.
AFL Queensland is currently gearing up for the National Inclusion Carnival to be held in Melbourne from August 4 to 10, which will see representative teams from all states and territories compete.
A number of other disability inclusion programs will be launched across Queensland in 2015 including a NAB AFL Auskick clinic for Autistic boys and girls at Aspley AFC and all-ages disability clinics in regional areas.