October 9, 2021
In Episode 48 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, our guest is Tom Fisher of the North American Association of Blind Sportsmen (NAABS). Fisher discussed:
- Growing up in the Pacific Northwest
- A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at a very young age
- How he went blind and what the process of losing his vision was like for him emotionally
- How he got involved in the North American Association of Blind Sportsmen (NAABS)
- The adaptive outdoor programs and events NAABS offers
- The “Adaptive Pursuits” TV show which has highlighted NAABS and several blind and visually impaired individuals
- Why he says getting into sports and recreation saved his life
Learn more about the North American Association of Blind Sportsmen (NAABS) at http://www.naabs.org. Contact the organization at email@example.com.
September 25, 2021
In Episode 47 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we highlight the Long Island Bombers beep baseball team from New York and its performance at the 2021 National Beep Baseball Association World Series in Wichita, KS. We caught up with Ted Fass, Alex Barrera, and Edgar Erickson of the Bombers to talk about:
- Their personal and professional backgrounds
- Their visual impairments
- How they got into adaptive sports
- How they got into beep baseball and what they enjoy most about it
- The history of the Long Island Bombers
- The 2021 NBBA World Series
- Why blind and visually impaired individuals should try adaptive sports
Learn more about the Long Island Bombers beep baseball team on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LIBombers. Learn more about the National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) and teams across the U.S. at www.nbba.org.
September 11, 2021
In Episode 46 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we look back on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics which just wrapped up from a blind sports perspective. In the first segment, we are joined by Mason Merren, an analyst for the USA men’s goalball team and son of longtime Paralympic goalball player Tyler Merren. Mason discussed:
- Growing up with visually impaired parents
- How he got into his unique role as a goalball analytics coordinator with the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) after attending Florida Atlantic University
- The outcome of the men’s and women’s goalball competitions at the Tokyo Paralympics
- Some interesting statistics and analysis from the events
- His predictions for goalball moving forward and looking ahead to the 2024 Paralympics in Paris
In the second segment, host Greg Lindberg talked about the results of some Eyes Free Sports guests who competed in this year’s Paralympics (including Lex Gillette and Kyle Coon), the blind football results, some insight on judo, swimming, and the paratriathlon, and some final thoughts on the Games.
August 28, 2021
In Episode 45 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, our guest is Drew Hunthausen. Known as “The No Excuses Blind Guy,” he talked about:
- His early childhood and the numerous sports he played when he was still fully sighted
- A sudden diagnosis and why he spent three months in a coma
- The long road he endured when awakening from the coma and its resulting effects on him physically
- The first sport he got into after losing his sight and hearing and how freeing it felt to him
- Getting involved in the Blind Stokers Club and how this led him into doing triathlons
- Some adaptations he uses as a blind and hearing impaired triathlete
- Why he adopted the nickname “The No Excuses Blind Guy”
Learn more about Drew Hunthausen at www.drewhunthausen.com. Follow him on Facebook at http://facebook.com/drewhunthausen. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/drewhunthausen. Check out his Instagram page at http://instagram.com/drewhunthausen.
August 14, 2021
In Episode 44 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we preview the Tokyo Paralympics from a blind sports perspective. In the first segment, our guest is Lucy Dominy, the media and communications manager of the International Blind Sports Federation. She discussed:
- What the International Blind Sports Federation is and which sports for the blind and visually impaired the governing body oversees
- An overview of goalball and a preview of the teams and matchups at the Tokyo Paralympics
- An overview of five-aside soccer (a.k.a. blind soccer or blind football) and a preview of the upcoming matchups at the Tokyo Paralympics
- An overview of the blind judo competitors competing in the Tokyo Paralympics
In the second segment, host Greg Lindberg reviews a few of the Eyes Free Sports guests who will be competing in the Paralympic Games this year, along with some news about watching the games with audio description and the improvement of some web accessibility for blind and visually impaired fans to more easily follow the games.
Learn more about the International Blind Sports Federation at https://ibsasport.org/.
Learn more about the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympic Games at https://www.paralympic.org/tokyo-2020.
July 31, 2021
In Episode 43 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, our guest is Bob Babbitt, a co-founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Babbitt discussed:
- How he got into endurance sports and his first Ironman event
- What inspired him to help launch the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF)
- Who is eligible for a CAF grant
- What these grants can actually cover for challenged athletes
- Examples of events and clinics CAF puts on
- Examples of blind and visually impaired athletes he has gotten to know and their unique stories
- Why he says he has so much respect for blind athletes
- How sports have transformed the lives of so many individuals he has met over the years
Learn more about the Challenged Athletes Foundation at www.challengedathletes.org.
Learn more about Bob Babbitt and find his podcast at www.babbittville.com.
July 17, 2021
In episode 42 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we catch up with Dave Wilkinson, a blind triathlete, marathoner, and Ironman competitor who has a great sense of humor. Wilkinson spoke about:
- How his mom discovered his visual impairment of Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA)
- What led him to work in Iceland as a young man
- Attending and working for New York University (NYU)
- His work in assistive technology for a number of well-known companies and meeting his future wife at a conference
- Recreational activities he participated in as a youth
- Getting involved in Ski For Light and then trying a 5K for the first time
- His perspective on the keys to having a successful guide if you are a visually impaired runner or swimmer
- Completing the Louisville Ironman event a few years ago after being involved in a serious car accident
- His advice on how to get into sports and recreation if you are visually impaired and haven’t been active before or for a long time
Contact Dave by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.reliableracing.com to find the orange vest he has worn to indicate to others that he is visually impaired when running or skiing.
Learn more about Ironman races, what they are, and a schedule of upcoming events at www.ironman.com.
July 3, 2021
In Episode 41 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we are joined by two sisters who play blind hockey, Vicki Vanturini McDermott and
Christine Vanturini Callagy. They talked about:
- Growing up with Stargardt disease
- Getting into hockey through the Pawling Youth Hockey Program in New York
- How Christine got to do an internship with Courage Canada, now called Canadian Blind Hockey
- What it meant to them to experience blind hockey for the first time
- Their favorite positions to play on the ice
- Their perspectives on being the only females on the U.S. Blind Hockey National Team and how they can introduce more females to the sport
Learn more about blind hockey in the U.S. at https://www.usahockey.com/blindhockey.
Learn more about the Canadian Blind Hockey Association at https://canadianblindhockey.com/.
June 19, 2021
In Episode 40 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we visit with highly accomplished beep baseball player and advocate Kalari Girtley-Jackson. She spoke about:
- Suddenly becoming visually impaired at the age of six
- Growing up in Chicago and playing sports as a young girl
- How she discovered beep baseball
- How getting involved in beep baseball has transformed her outlook in so many ways
- Why she says she feels “normal” when she is at a beep baseball event
- A funny story about when she was interning with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
- Her involvement in the Women of Our League (WOOL) exhibition game at the World Series each year and her goal for an all-women’s team to compete against the entire league
- Her appearance on the MLB Network to raise awareness about beep baseball thanks to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF)
- A contest through Orcam she won in which she traveled to Barcelona, Spain to meet several blind athletes from around the world and a soccer superstar
- Why she says blindness is a “universal language”
June 5, 2021
In Episode 39 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, our guest is Richard Thomsen of the American Blind Skiing Foundation. Thompson talked about:
- His early years and visual impairment
- Attending camps for visually impaired kids
- Sports he initially tried as a kid, including football and wrestling
- His college education and his current bachelor’s program at the College of Lake County
- His experience doing web design and social media marketing through his own small business
- How he initially got interested in skiing
- The history of the American Blind Skiing Foundation (ABSF)
- How ABSF guides work to help guide blind and visually impaired skiers
- Examples of ski trips members have taken and how the organization helps cover many of the expenses for skiers
- The adaptations of snowboarding for the blind
- The guide clinics ABSF puts on to train guides on the specifics of guiding blind and visually impaired skiers
- The camaraderie and support among the skiers
Learn more about the American Blind Skiing Foundation at www.absf.org. Follow ABSF on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanBlindSkiingFoundation/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/americanblindskiingfoundation/.
Learn more about Thomsen’s web design and marketing business at http://tnt-concepts.com.