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.
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.
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.
March 13, 2021
In Episode 33 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Joshua “The Jedi” Loya is our guest. In Part 2 of our chat with Loya, he talked about:
- Getting to work with an Olympic alternate who helped train Ronda Rousey
- How he got into surfing and the unique intersection between surfing and judo
- Competing in the U.S. Open Adaptive Surfing Championships and a national event as well
- Competing in the AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship
- What slack lining is
- The importance of athletes surrounding themselves with positive coaches and actually enjoying the sports they compete in
- Why he believes blind and visually impaired people should take some risks and do some “scary things”
- His Adventure Mind podcast and initiative to get more blind people into surfing
- What it’s like skydiving as a blind individual
- Jumping off the Stratosphere building in Las Vegas
- His personal mental health challenges and strategies he uses to cope
Follow him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/joshuathejedi/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaTheJedi/, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/servantwarrior.
Learn more about his podcast at www.adventuremind.net and feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
February 27, 2021
In Episode 32 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Joshua “The Jedi” Loya is our guest. In Part 1 of our chat with Loya, he talked about:
- Growing up in Santa Cruz, CA
- Having limited vision as a child
- How he suddenly went totally blind at age 15 but why this actually improved his quality of life
- Getting into martial arts
- How he and his wife got into running a Dojo and how he has adapted when teaching martial arts techniques to blind and visually impaired students
- His involvement with Blind Community Martial Arts in San Diego, CA
- How martial arts and self-defense go hand-in-hand
Learn more about Joshua “The Jedi” Loy at http://servantwarrior.me.
Find his Adventure Mind podcast on all major podcast platforms.
February 12, 2021
In Episode 31 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, Kevin Broussard of the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is our guest. Broussard talked about:
- His early years growing up in San Clemente, CA
- His visual impairment
- A dinnertable conversation he recalls having had at age eight and how this conversation ultimately changed his mindset as a young man with a disability
- Playing offensive line on his high school football team
- A high school coach who gave him a chance at track and field
- The first blind sports event he attended in 2007 at the Junior Blind of America (now Wayfinder Family Services)
- Competing in the World Youth Games
- Competing on the track and field team at the University of La Verne in California
- Competing and winning medals in the 2011 and 2015 World Championships in track and field
- The adaptations of the discus and shotput for blind and visually impaired competitors
- Getting into judo and the adaptations of this sport for the blind
- His role working for USABA
- His interest in blind soccer and a description of this sport
- His thoughts on why the unemployment rate in the disability community has remained high and some advice on how job candidates can increase their chances of finding gainful employment
Visit www.talksbykevin.com to learn more about his story, watch some of his videos/speeches, and to follow him on social media.
Learn more about the United States Association of Blind Athletes at www.usaba.org.
January 30, 2021
In Episode 30 of the Eyes Free Sports podcast, host Greg Lindberg speaks about a book he just finished reading. The book is titled Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story – A Blind Broadcaster's Story of Overcoming Life's Greatest Obstacles. Greg provided a brief overview of the book without giving away too many details. His life has included getting to know some U.S. presidents, Hall of Fame baseball players from the 1930s to the present, having four guide dogs from The Seeing Eye, and finding ways to persevere in many aspects of his life despite being blind since age 12. Lucas was also inducted into the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame which is recognized by the main Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Check out the book on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Home-Broadcasters-Overcoming-Obstacles/dp/147678583X and on Audible at https://www.audible.com/pd/Seeing-Home-The-Ed-Lucas-Story-Audiobook/B00VKSCMD4.
Learn more about the Ed Lucas Foundation at www.theedlucasfoundation.org.
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.
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: