Following the incredible experience of refereeing and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and acting as Assistant Head Referee at the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro last December, former learner Dan Headley will be stepping up to lead the team of 16 referees at the European Para Championships, in Rotterdam next month.
Dan will be refereeing for boccia, one of the 10 sports that will feature at the Championships between Tuesday 8 and Sunday 20 August 2023. Boccia is a precision ball sport, similar to bowls, that has been a Paralympic sport since 1984 and is specifically played by people with disabilities.
Dan was a Loughborough College student for 8 years, starting on the BTEC First Diploma in Sport Performance but it was through the Leadership academy that Dan was part of during the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport where he was first introduced to the world of boccia refereeing at an event to raise awareness of Paralympic sport ahead of London 2012. Having completed the training to become a national referee Dan was selected as an official for the London 2012 Paralympics. Dan said “it was this experience in London that sparked my dream of becoming an international referee and going to another Paralympics."
In 2020 that dream cam true when he was selected to be an international Referee at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. But Dan’s journey did not stop there, in December 2022 he also attended the World Boccia Championships in Rio de Janeiro. When we spoke to Dan, he told why he loves boccia “There are many great things about boccia, from the inclusivity and opportunities for everyone to be involved to some of the intricacies that you see at the top level. Also it’s a great sport for bringing people together locally, nationally and internationally."