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Mardi, 29 Novembre 2011 12:30

How Blind Athletes Get Their Game On

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Camera tripods are used to line up shots and archers shoot from 30 meters. Target size varies to mimic different distances.
Photo: Brian Finke

  • Archery
    Blind archers use camera tripods equipped with homemade tactile sighting devices. To direct their shot at the target, they place their bow hand against a pin or metal bar that has been positioned by a sighted spotter.
  • Basketball
    A tiny sound emitter inside the ball produces a constant high-pitched tone to indicate its location. A second device on the backboard emits a lower-pitched, intermittent beep that tells players where to aim their jump shot.
  • Shooting
    Using rifles with laser sights and photoelectric cells, competitive shooters aim at a black, white, and gray target. The sensor triggers different tones as the laser beam passes over each shade, indicating when to pull the trigger.
  • Tennis
    Players swing a shortened racket at a Nerf-like ball with a rattle inside. They navigate via thick string taped to the floor of the badminton-sized court. The number of bounces allowed (up to three) depends on the degree of blindness.
  • Chess
    (Who says chess isn’t a sport?) Black and white squares are set at different heights, and black game pieces are marked with pins. Players learn to feel the difference between, say, a bishop and a rook.
  • Bowling
    Bowlers use side railings to get lined up, but beyond that everything else is the same. Twelve legally blind US bowlers have scored perfect games; the record for a completely blind person is 263.


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