The Eyes Free Sports Podcast
The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 29 - Skateboarding for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 29 - Skateboarding for the Blind and Visually Impaired

January 16, 2021

In Episode 29 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we hit the skatepark to learn all about skateboarding for the blind and visually impaired. Guests Matt Janz and Curtis Ruttle of Calgary, Alberta, Canada spoke about:

 

- Matt’s background and attending the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the University of Calgary to earn journalism and communications degrees

- His volunteer work in teaching skateboarding and how he got into low vision skateboarding

- His visual impairment and how his parents spotted it quickly when he was a youngster since he has an inherited condition

- How Curtis attends a self-directed high school program

- Curtis’ involvement in skiing with Canadian Adaptive Snowsports and playing blind hockey through the Calgary Seeing Ice Dogs and Canadian Blind Hockey

- How they each got into skateboarding, including Matt’s introduction to skateboarding while living in Vancouver and how Curtis was introduced to the sport by Matt

- The unique Skate Bats program Matt started to offer skateboarding lessons to visually impaired kids

- Curtis’ Alt Route program and how he got grant funding through the CNIB Youth Council

- The adaptations Curtis and Matt have come up with to make skate parks more accessible using some very creative techniques for both low vision and totally blind participants

- How blind skateboarders can actually use a white cane to help guide them

 

Learn more about Skate Bats at www.skatebats.ca and on Instagram at http://instagram.com/skatebats.

 

Learn more about the Alt Route project at www.altroute.ca and on Instagram at http://instagram.com/altrouteprojects.ca.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 28 - Skiing for the Blind with Ski for Light

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 28 - Skiing for the Blind with Ski for Light

January 2, 2021

In Episode 28 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Tim McCorkle of Ski for Light, Inc. joins the conversation to speak about:

  • Growing up in Juneau, Alaska and the winter sports he learned to love as a youngster, especially cross-country skiing
  • Being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal condition
  • Jobs he has had working in accounting and finance
  • How he discovered Ski for Light, Inc. and got involved in cross-country skiing as a blind individual
  • The history of the Ski for Light organization and how it was born out of an effort from a blind musician in Norway in the 1950s
  • How the ski guides are trained and what information they verbally provide to help blind skiers navigate the terrain on which they are skiing
  • The weeklong Ski for Light international event held annually since 1975
  • How a location is identified for the Ski for Light international events
  • The 2021 virtual Ski for Light event being held from Jan. 27-30, 2021
  • His experience skiing at the Ridderrennet (“Knights race” in English”) event in Beitostolen, Norway in 2014
  • How skiing has benefited his orientation and mobility to be a better independent blind traveler

    Learn more about Ski for Light, Inc. at http://www.sfl.org. Check out their Facebook page at http://facebook.com/skiforlight and follow Ski for Light on Twitter at http://twitter.com/skiforlight.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 27: Exploring Back-Country Skiing with the Braille Mountain Initiative

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 27: Exploring Back-Country Skiing with the Braille Mountain Initiative

December 19, 2020

In Episode 27 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, blind skier Tyson Ready of the Braille Mountain Initiative was our guest. Ready spoke about:

  • His early years and how he got into winter sports like hockey and skiing
  • Why he suddenly lost a significant amount of vision in 2018 and 2019
  • Working as a back-country ski guide for Great Canadian Heliskiing
  • Getting services from the CNIB and Canadian Assistive Technology
  • Receiving an Orcam device from the Canadian Ski Guide Association
  • What inspired him to create the Braille Mountain Initiative, a nonprofit he recently started to bring back-country skiing experiences to blind and visually impaired skiers
  • The upcoming back-country skiing trip he has planned for April 2021
  • The adaptations of skiing for those with visual impairments and specifically how back-country skiing offers far more opportunity for independence for blind skiers
  • Other mountain sports he hopes to incorporate into his organization

 

Learn more about the Braille Mountain Initiative at http://www.braillemountaininitiative.com and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/braillemountaininitiative.

Tyson welcomes email contact at braillemountaininitiative@outlook.com.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 26: Taking a Crack at Beep Baseball with Erik Rodriguez

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 26: Taking a Crack at Beep Baseball with Erik Rodriguez

December 5, 2020

In Episode 26 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, beep baseball star player Erik Rodriguez joined host Greg Lindberg to talk about:

  • A rare genetic condition causing a visual impairment that he and some of his siblings have had since birth
  • Attending the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and getting into sports like wrestling while there
  • How he was introduced to beep baseball at age 10 when he attended the 2008 National Beep Baseball Association World Series
  • Starting his beep baseball career with the Chicago Comets and then transitioning to the Indy Thunder
  • How he has helped the Indy Thunder win the past four National Beep Baseball Association World Series titles
  • His take on how to be a successful beep baseball fielder, runner, and hitter
  • What the sport of beep baseball means to him in his life
  • His experience playing goalball
  • His current career and future goals

 

Learn more about beep baseball and the National Beep Baseball Association at www.nbba.org.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 25: Exploring Trail Orienteering for the Blind

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 25: Exploring Trail Orienteering for the Blind

November 22, 2020

In Episode 25 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, we discuss trail orienteering for the blind. Our two guests, Russ Myer and Megan Hale, discussed:

  • How Myer got into helping people with disabilities -
  • His involvement with World Para Nordic Skiing and International Orienteering Federation
  • The Capital Region Nordic Alliance in Albany, NY and its adaptive sports programs for local residents with disabilities
  • Hale’s visual impairment and current degree program she is working on at Hudson Valley Community College
  • How Hale got into blind sports by attending Camp Abilities events in New York and then joining the track and field teams at her middle school, high school, and college
  • Her guide dog, Hero, from Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s Running Guides program
  • Myer’s work with Microsoft on the development and beta testing of a more robust version of the Microsoft Soundscape mobile app to be used for trail orienteering
  • The various sounds that are used to indicate a trail orienteering competitor’s whereabouts in relation to the virtual beacons within a course
  • Hale’s experience with trail orienteering and the differences between using her white cane or being guided by her dog on the course
  • Hale’s enjoyment of participating in adaptive sports and how rewarding it is to independently compete in sports as someone with a disability
  • What Myer has seen in terms of how positively sports and recreation have impacted the lives of people with disabilities

 
Learn more about the Capital Region Nordic Alliance in New York at www.capitalregionnordicalliance.org.

Contact Russ Myer directly to learn more about trail orienteering or to get involved by emailing him at russmyer08@gmail.com.

Learn more about the Microsoft Soundscape project at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/product/soundscape/. Download the Soundscape iPhone app at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-soundscape/id1240320677.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 24: Hitting the Lanes with the American Blind Bowling Association

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 24: Hitting the Lanes with the American Blind Bowling Association

November 8, 2020

In Episode 24 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Fred Nickl of the American Blind Bowling Association is our guest. Nickl discussed:

  • - How he suddenly lost his vision from an accident
  • Why losing a job actually helped him get into blind bowling
  • The adaptations of bowling for the blind and visually impaired
  • The history of the American Blind Bowling Association (ABBA)
  • The annual national tournament the ABBA puts on and how the locations are selected for these tournaments
  • The social aspects of the tournaments like the dance and exploring the locations of each event
  • International participation in blind bowling and some unique rules in other countries

Learn more about the American Blind Bowling Association and blind bowling in general at www.abba1951.com.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 23 - A Chat with Multitalented Blind Athlete Damian Parra

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 23 - A Chat with Multitalented Blind Athlete Damian Parra

October 24, 2020

In Episode 23 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, all-around young blind athlete Damian Parra joins host Greg Lindberg to discuss:

  • Why he suddenly lost a good amount of vision around age three
  • Why his family moved from New York to Seattle to give Damian a better future
  • How he got into playing blind sports by attending the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB)
  • How he got into goalball and competing in goalball tournaments
  • His first national goalball tournament at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) in St. Augustine, FL and an Austin, TX national tournament in 2019
  • Getting to play with a goalball team from British Columbia in another tournament thanks to decorated Paralympic goalball athlete Jen Armbruster
  • His involvement in the USA Goal Ball Facebook Group and how it has inspired him in many ways
  • His advice for being successful at goalball
  • How he got into powerlifting and the most he has lifted
  • How he got into swimming
  • The training programs he has taken from Youth Employment Solutions through the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind
  • His career goals and one profession he hopes to attain
The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 22:Taking a Splash with Scott Leason

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 22:Taking a Splash with Scott Leason

October 11, 2020

In Episode 22 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, accomplished blind water sports athlete Scott Leason joined the conversation to talk about:

  • Growing up in Newport Beach, CA
  • The sports he enjoyed playing growing up
  • His seven-year stint in the U.S. Navy and how this military experience shaped him as a young man
  • The story of how he lost his vision due to an event that nearly took his life
  • Attending the Braille Institute and the Foundation for the Junior Blind to learn independent living skills
  • How he was introduced to water sports at the Blind Community Center of San Diego
  • Competing in events through the Challenged Athletes Foundation and CAF’s Operation Rebound program for veterans
  • His accomplishments in water skiing, surfing, and wakeboarding
  • The adaptations of water sports like water skiing, surfing, and wakeboarding
  • Competing in Ironman events
  • His involvement with the Blind Stokers Club
  • How his Apple Watch has been a helpful and accessible tool in his sports and fitness endeavors
  • Getting three guide dogs from The Seeing Eye
  • The positive impact of being involved in sports as a blind individual

 

Check out Leason’s Never Lose Sight Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/neverloosesight/

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 21: Getting Fit with Dawn Wells of Angel Eyes Fitness & Nutrition

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast - Ep. 21: Getting Fit with Dawn Wells of Angel Eyes Fitness & Nutrition

September 26, 2020

In Episode 21 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Dawn Wells of Angel Eyes Fitness and Nutrition is our guest. Wells, who has dubbed herself “Sista Fitness,” discussed:

  • Why she attended 19 schools while growing up
  • Serving in the Marine Corps for four years and the Army Reserves for seven years
  • How a bulimia diagnosis changed her life for the better and led her into fitness
  • How she got into teaching fitness classes, specifically Zumba at first
  • An introduction to the blind community when she unexpectedly was invited to teach a Zumba class at an NFB of Georgia state convention in 2014
  • What inspired her to start Angel Eyes Fitness and Nutrition in 2017 as a formal nonprofit organization
  • The nine programs she offers through the nonprofit
  • How she verbally describes her fitness classes and uses methods like the clock face to ensure all participants understand the instructions
  • A partnership her organization established to offer free Uber rides for participants in her fitness classes to attend classes on site at locations around the country
  • How she got involved in offering free Zoom fitness classes for the American Council of the Blind
  • The nutrition programs and meal plans she has developed based on a person’s blood type, thanks to her research on Dr. Peter D’Adamo and his “Eat Right for Your Blood Type” concept
  • Why she believes making fitness fun is the key to long-term success and positive results

 

Visit https://angeleyesfitnessandnutrition.org/

 to learn more about her nonprofit organization and its unique services.

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 20 - Discussing Blind Hockey with Goalie Doug Goist

The Eyes Free Sports Podcast: Ep. 20 - Discussing Blind Hockey with Goalie Doug Goist

September 12, 2020

In Episode 20 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, blind hockey goalie Doug Goist joined the conversation to talk about:

 

  • His early years and how active he was as a child playing sports
  • When he started to notice something was wrong with his vision
  • Attending college at Wake Forest University and earning a bachelor’s degree in English
  • His work in journalism and as a transcriptionist
  • How he unexpectedly got into blind hockey and why he thought his friend was making it up at first
  • How blind hockey is played
  • The vision classifications of blind hockey players and the positions they typically play based on their levels of vision
  • His role on the ice as a goalie
  • Playing with the Washington Blind Hockey Club and the U.S. Blind Hockey team
  • Competing in the first-ever international blind hockey series of games vs. Canada
  • If he thinks blind hockey will get into the Paralympics and what has to happen for this to occur
  • Advice for anyone interested in playing blind hockey
  • His job with the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and his efforts to help blind individuals land jobs
  • Some advice for blind and visually impaired job candidates on what they can do to advocate for themselves during the job search and interview process

 

Learn more about USA Blind Hockey and the sport of blind hockey at https://www.usahockey.com/blindhockey.

Check out the Washington Blind Hockey Club site at https://dcblindhockey.org/.

 

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