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A first for Perkins: hosting Eastern goalball tourney

The ball in goalball has bells so the players can keep track of it.  From left, Bella Scott sends the ball; Brendan Flynn (left) and Shae Kelley go for blocks; and Kelley guards the net.
The ball in goalball has bells so the players can keep track of it. From left, Bella Scott sends the ball; Brendan Flynn (left) and Shae Kelley go for blocks; and Kelley guards the net.Photos by Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

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WATERTOWN – The significance was immeasurable.

Never before in the 185-year history of the Perkins School had it ever hosted an Eastern Athletic Association for the Blind goalball tournament.

But that changed this past Friday and Saturday, when 60 goalball athletes representing eight schools along the East Coast, including Florida and West Virginia, flooded into the Howe Building Gymnasium on campus.

“In the words of our kids, I would say, ‘it’s epic,’ ” said Megan O’Connell-Copp, a third-year adaptive physical education teacher at Perkins who has been coaching the sport for 14 years.

Goalball, developed in 1946 to help visually impaired World War II veterans in their rehabilitation, involves two teams of three players competing against each other.

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