The loss of sight can be utterly devastating and requires learning an entirely new way of navigating the world. While medical advances strive to cure blindness, blind individuals are coming up with their own coping techniques to live a better, sportier life.
In the suburbs of Philadelphia, Mel Scott found herself frustrated while working out. The legally blind health fan was missing her full range of exercise options because she was unable to follow workout DVDs. So she came up with her own line of workout programs, BlindAlive Eyes-FreeFitness.
“A quality workout done at the right time of day and at the right pace to meet your unique physical and mental needs is just what the doctor may have forgotten to order. For many blind people, fitness has been a challenge: without someone to guide you and without the ability to drive yourself to the gym, it becomes obvious why so many of us give up.”
High School pole vaulter, Charlotte Brown, is legally blind, but still placed third at a recent University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Meet. Blind since her sophomore year, Brown is now a senior at Emory Rains High School who counts her steps and uses a beeper to sound out exactly where she should plant her pole and jump.
In an AP report at USNews.com by Jim Vertuno, Brown said she and her dog Vador were proud to receive the bronze medal.
“I finally did it,” Brown said. “If I could send a message to anybody, it’s not about pole vaulting and it’s not about track. It’s about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way.”
This fall, one USC football hopeful, Jake Olson, has already faced a bigger challenge than trying out for a team—and won. Olson, a longtime-fan of the Trojans, lost his sight to cancer of the retinal and during his trials the team coach supported the youngster, even hosting him at one of their practices on the day before the surgery that would take his site.
After his recovery, Olson honed his skills on the field as a long-snapper for his high school football team. Now, he hopes to be a part of his favorite time when he attends USC in the fall. And in a story by NBC Sports by John Taylor, head coach Steve Sarkisian says he is optimistic.
“Someday he’s going to snap in a game for us. When? I don’t know. But it will happen.”