Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

Photo of David Dopkin
Photo of David Dopkin

Legally blind Texas teen inspires many with pole vaulting success

On Behalf of | May 20, 2013 | Social Security Disability Benefits for Illness

If there is any one thing in lives that we take for granted it’s our sight. Only when it’s taken away do we realize just how important it is navigate through our daily lives. Try telling that to one 15-year-old Emory teen who is not only legally blind but is doing things most sighted people couldn’t even dream of achieving.

She started losing her sight when she was just 16 weeks old. And while surgeries to remove cataracts in her eyes worked for a while, at age 11 her sight began to deteriorate again. Now, her field of vision is little more than a small circle of light. She says it’s like looking through a straw. But despite being blind, she has never let her disability prevent her from achieving her goals and having fun in the process.

You wouldn’t know the Texas teen was blind just by looking at her.  She doesn’t wear the cliche sunglasses and doesn’t even carry a cane.  A member of her high school’s track and field team, many of her fellow athletes don’t even know she has a disability.  It’s not something she normally tells people, she says.  But when she told her parents that she wanted to run track and become a pole vaulter, a few accomodations needed to be made.

Counting her steps carefully, and using a strip of turf that contrasts with the side of the running track, she is able to successfully compete is numerous competitions.  She’s even considered to be the best pole vaulter in her school and one of the best in the nation as well.

“When I started this it was just fun and it was a challenge,” she explained to reporters just days before competing in the state high school championships at the University of Texas.  “Now people tell me it is inspiring…if it can inspire people to do something new or challenging, that’s cool.”

Source: Fox News, “Blind pole vaulter one of best in Texas,” The Associated Press, May 10, 2013