The Eyes Free Sports Podcast
The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 43 - Highlighting the Challenged Athletes Foundation with Bob Babbitt

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 43 - Highlighting the Challenged Athletes Foundation with Bob Babbitt

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.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 42 - A Chat with Endurance Athlete Dave Wilkinson

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 42 - A Chat with Endurance Athlete Dave Wilkinson

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 dave@speedyturtle.net.

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.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 41 - Visiting with 2 Sisters Who Play Blind Hockey

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 41 - Visiting with 2 Sisters Who Play Blind Hockey

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/.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 40 - Talking Beep Baseball with Kalari Girtley-Jackson

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 40 - Talking Beep Baseball with Kalari Girtley-Jackson

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”
The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 39 - Hitting the Slopes with the American Blind Skiing Foundation

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 39 - Hitting the Slopes with the American Blind Skiing Foundation

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.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 38: A Visit with 11-Year-Old Visually Impaired Athlete Isaiah Bingham

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 38: A Visit with 11-Year-Old Visually Impaired Athlete Isaiah Bingham

May 22, 2021

In Episode 38 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we talk to 11-year-old Isaiah Bingham, a visually impaired athlete from Delaware, along with his father, Bernard Bingham. The two discussed:

  • Where Isaiah was born and his visual impairment
  • How Bernard and his wife took action early in Isaiah’s life to help him
  • The initial sports Isaiah got into starting around age four
  • How he got into playing football, the positions he plays, and the unique nickname his coach gave him
  • Isaiah’s clothing line and book he is publishing
  • The numerous media interviews and other unique opportunities Isaiah has had in his life already
  • The community service work Isaiah has already done to help the homeless and kids in need

 

Check out Isaiah’s website at www.vision322020.com. Follow him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/vision2020ceo/ and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bernard_bingham. Check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/vision2020CEO/.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep 37 - Hitting the Ice for Blind Hockey with Kevin Shanley

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep 37 - Hitting the Ice for Blind Hockey with Kevin Shanley

May 8, 2021

In Episode 37 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we visit with Kevin Shanley. One of the “founding fathers” of blind hockey in the United States, Shanley spoke about:

  • Growing up in Boston, MA and why his parents always let him hang out with fully sighted kids
  • Attending Saint Michael's College in Vermont and then Clarkson University in New York
  • Finding his niche in engineering and starting his career with IBM
  • Interning with the Naval Research Lab in its marine meteorology division
  • Going back to school for a master’s degree from UMass Boston and returning to Clarkson University for a Ph.D.
  • Working for Rolls-Royce on the gas turbine engines of aircraft
  • Changing careers and going into higher education to help launch a new mechanical engineering program at the State University of New York (SUNY) in New Paltz, NY
  • Playing beep baseball for the Boston Renegades for one season
  • How he got into playing hockey as an adult with fully sighted peers but then discovering Courage Canada, now known as the Canadian Blind Hockey Association
  • Competing in the first national Canadian blind hockey tournament and how he felt so accepted by the camaraderie of the players
  • How he helped arrange the first-ever blind hockey summit in the U.S.
  • The adaptations and rules of blind hockey
  • The possibility of blind hockey getting into the Paralympics in 2026
  • How several NHL clubs have supported local blind hockey programs
  • His guide dog, Bo, from Freedom Guide Dogs and the tremendous benefits of this partnership

 

Learn more about blind hockey in the U.S. at https://www.usahockey.com/blindhockey. Learn more about blind hockey in Canada at https://canadianblindhockey.com.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 36 - Taking a Swing at Blind Golf

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 36 - Taking a Swing at Blind Golf

April 24, 2021

In Episode 36 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we learn about blind golf. Our two guests, Greg Hooper and Ty Thompson of the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA), spoke about:

  • Their personal lives, careers, and their unique visual impairments
  • A history of the USBGA and its connection to the International Blind Golf Association (IBGA)
  • The adaptations of golf for the blind and visually impaired
  • The relationship between the blind golfer and his or her coach
  • How a golf course is identified for a blind golf tournament
  • How the two have helped get visually impaired kids into playing golf
  • The benefits of playing this great sport and the family atmosphere of the USBGA

 

Learn more about blind golf and the USBGA at www.usblindgolf.com. Follow the USBGA on Facebook at https://facebook.com/USBGA and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/us_blind_golf.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 35 - A Chat with Marathoner Abigail Shaw

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 35 - A Chat with Marathoner Abigail Shaw

April 10, 2021

In Episode 35 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we visit with blind long distance runner and marathoner Abigail Shaw. She talked about:

  • Her diagnosis of a visual impairment at age four
  • Attending Appalachian State University to earn a bachelor’s in music and audio production and Fordham University for a Master of Social Work
  • Her guide dog from the Running Guides program at Guiding Eyes for the Blind and a special harness to make running with her dog more efficient
  • How she got involved in running with Achilles International, an organization that helps engage people with disabilities in running and other recreational activities
  • The half-marathons, marathons, and triathlons she has competed in
  • What she enjoys most about running and how accepting the running community is for people of diverse abilities
  • Her job with Learning Ally, an organization providing audiobooks and mentoring to students who are visually impaired, dyslexic, or have other challenges
  • Her advocacy work on the Advisory Committee on Transit Accessibility through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York

 

Learn more about Achilles International at http://www.achillesinternational.org. Learn more about Learning Ally at http://learningally.org.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 34: Running with Deaf Blind Athlete Brian Switzer

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 34: Running with Deaf Blind Athlete Brian Switzer

March 27, 2021

In Episode 34 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we chat with deaf blind athlete Brian Switzer of Massachusetts. Switzer, who has competed in a number of sports and challenging running events, discussed:

  • His early years growing up in Massachusetts
  • Being diagnosed with Usher syndrome at a young age, which meant both a visual and hearing impairment
  • Earning dual undergraduate degrees in economics and philosophy with a minor in German from Stonehill College
  • Earning a master’s in public policy with a focus on disability policy from Suffolk University and his current master’s program at UMass-Boston
  • Working at the Perkins School for the Blind in the Career Launch program to help prepare young people with visual impairments for employment
  • Several sports he initially played and then how he got into running
  • Playing beep baseball with the Boston Renegades
  • Competing in the Equinox Marathon in Alaska, one of the world’s most challenging races
  • Competing in the Radnar Relay Ultra in New Hampshire
  • The adaptations of running for blind individuals and the relationship between blind runners and their sighted guides
  • The concept of rucking and an event he competed in for Heroes in Transition to help veterans
  • His guide dog from Guiding Eyes for the Blind
  • Accessibility testing he has done on running apps like RunKeeper and Strava

 

 

Check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/briandeafblindathlete/.

Find his two books on Amazon:
1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y6MRD99/ref=cm_sw_r_em_api_glt_BP5ENYHYR7H082B65CBR
2) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D3Z6ZM8/ref=cm_sw_r_em_api_glt_B6ZMFKZ58S1DWDHRA53Y

Check out the Career Launchpad Facebook Group he manages for young visually impaired individuals seeking employment or professional development at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2497533623910676/?ref=share. Learn more about the Career Launch program at Perkins at https://www.perkins.org/school/transition-programs/career-launch.

For a text transcript of this podcast episode, visit: https://greglindberg.net/index.php?id=the-eyes-free-sports-podcast-ep-34-running-with-deaf-blind-athlete-brian-switzer-podcast-transcript.

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