Blind or visually impaired people can lead a sporty life and enjoy a variety of activities. Whether bowling or baseball, golf or dancing, cycling or martial arts, swimming or surfing, there is something for everyone.
Physical activity is important to health and wellbeing, and visual impairment is not a reason to avoid exercise or exercise. There are a wide range of activities available for the blind or visually impaired to stay physically active, play sports, or just get out, be healthy and socialize.
Sometimes people just think of big competitive events like the Paralympics. However, there are ways to do sports at all levels – whether in a team or individually. People with visual impairment can and do extreme sports such as freestyle skiing. For those who are less action-oriented, there are tandem biking or walking. For those looking to get into competitive team sport, it is important to know that they are open to people with varying degrees of vision loss. In order to level the field of play, some competitive sports require participants to wear a blindfold.
Cost can be a consideration that discourages people from trying sports activities. While certain sports are associated with high expenses, there are also organizations that waive or reduce fees for the blind or visually impaired. And there are inexpensive camps for children, adults and families.
Regardless of the sport – and whether or not a person is visually impaired – avoiding injury is important. Wear suitable clothing and protective equipment and seek immediate medical attention in the event of injuries. Lighthouse Guild offers tips on preventing sports-related eye injuries.
As a blind person who has participated in marathons and also enjoys snow and water skiing, I encourage people to find an activity that suits them.
Sports organizations that offer programs for the blind or visually impaired include:
USABA (United States Association for Blind Athletes)
United States Association of Blind Athletes (Regional and International)
NYC Chapter – Achilles International
Skiing – alpine, cross-country and water
Ski for Light (National & International)
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports
Leaps of Faith Adaptive Skiers (Water & Alpine)
Official website of the National Beep Baseball Association (regional and national)
Blind outrigger paddling for the blind – Makapo Aquatics Project
To go biking
InTandem Cycling (New York City)
Third Eye Insight – Fitness for the Blind
World Seido Karate Organization
American Blind Bowling Association, Inc .: At Home (Regional and National)
Camp Skills – Brockport, New York
VCB camp for children, adults and families
Ed Plumacher, adaptive technology specialist at Lighthouse Guild, is a sports enthusiast. For more information about the Lighthouse Guild, visit Lighthouseguild.org.