Visually Impaired Athletes Compete in Irving

More than 250 athletes with visual impairment will compete in numerous sports activities

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    The 14th annual Sports Extravaganza will feature hundreds of athletes at Nimitz High School in Irving. (Published Friday, Oct. 19, 2012)

    Visually impaired students from around the state are coming to North Texas. The 14th Annual Sports Extravaganza will feature hundreds of athletes at Nimitz High School in Irving.

    The competition has been growing over the years, from just 40 athletes during its first year to more than 250 athletes in 2012.

    Steven Daugherty from Mesquite has been blind since birth but hasn’t let his disability slow him down. The 13-year-old said training for the games kept him active and happy.

    “It’s actually a break from being with people that are my age every other day that are completely different that I am,” he said.

    Christy Householter with the Region 10 Education Service Center said the track and field competition for kids with visual impairments help those who are involved to feel a sense of accomplishment.

    “We want to showcase their athletic ability. We want them to come and win medals,” she said.

    Householter said the competition includes several athletic activities including a couple that have been developed just for those with visual impairments.

    “Goalball is like a big part of my life. It’s huge for me," said 14-year-old Libby Daugherty. "It’s something I can belong to and be good at -- and I want to be the best I can be at it.”

    Tom Westerman, who is a part of the local Lion’s Club, said it’s been a rewarding experience to help sponsor the games.

    “You see the parents with tears in their eyes, you see the children with tears in their eyes, you know that’s all the reward we need. We as Lions serve, and that’s our motto, so that’s what we do when we come support this event,” he said.

    The event costs roughly $20,000 and is expected to draw more than 1100 people. The games begin on Friday at 6 p.m. and continues on Saturday.