Sports Vision
for Blind

Watch This Video
Windows Media
High Resolution Downloads

People with impaired vision can feel left out of everyday activities geared toward the sighted. A woman who grew up missing out on sports is making sure other blind children and adults have better opportunities. Gwen Kisker has her story.

 New Items | Additional Stories | Archives


(Locator: Pittsburgh, PA)

(Bowling ball thud)

Six-year-old Julia Murray can throw a mean ball. Partial blindness and deafness dont curb her game. These kids are part of SportsVisionan organization in Pittsburgh striking down the notion that visually impaired children cant participate in sports. Liz Murray says simple fun has transformed her daughter.

Liz Murray, Julias Mother: We can say Look at what that person is able to do, you can do it too.

Susan Lichtenfels: I wanted to give other kids the opportunities that I didnt have.

Susan Lichtenfels founded SportsVision in 2003. As a blind child, she had been excluded from sports, and even gym class. Then as a young adult, she was paralyzed in a car accident. Today, she is an active member at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church, where theres a special place for her wheelchair and Braille hymnals.

Susan Lichtenfels, Creator, SportsVision: I feel alive when Im helping people. I feel like it is a call, like its what Im supposed to be doing. Regardless of my disabilities, I have abilities.

SportsVision now includes adults, too. The group organizes rock climbing events, trips to the local amusement parks, audio dart competitions and snow tubing.

Teenager: Its really cool, if you love air on your face. But its really, really fun.

But more than the fun, 18-year-old Shenan Wilson says SportVision gives her fellowship and a sense of belonging.

Shenan Wilson, Visually Impaired: The group is basically like a big family. We get along. We feel like they know what we know.

Theresa Paterra, Shenans Mother: As a mom, its great. Im always secretly very scared about whats going to happen. But this has allowed me to be more comfortable.

Young woman: Its awesome, dude!


Through donations, outings are offered several times a year for free or at a reduced rate. Past activities have included sailing, yoga and gardening. For more information on how to volunteer or donate, visit the SportsVision Web site or call 412-429-1996.

Posted: March 10, 2010