Lighthouse Guild Adaptive Blind Baseball
April 25, 2022
Posted by FOX 5 News
On Saturday, April 23rd, eighteen blind and visually impaired teenagers had the opportunity to learn how to play a sport called “Adaptive Blind Baseball” at a special event in Riverside Park.
Taught by the coach of a local Adaptive Blind Baseball team called the NY Rockers , along with two players from the team. Rather than using a traditional baseball, they = play with balls that have built-in bells that ring and give audible cues as to direction and location.
The teens are part of the Youth Transition Program at Lighthouse Guild, a nonprofit organization located at 250 West 64th Street, which provides services to those who are blind and visually impaired.
Adaptive Blind Baseball was founded in Italy over 25 years ago and has recently caught on in the United States, Jeremy Morak, a spokesperson for Lighthouse Guild told West Side Rag. The baseballs used in Adaptive Blind Baseball are the same size as regular baseballs, Morak said.
“The ball is not pitched, rather the batter drops the ball and swings with one hand. An instructor stands at first base with a horn to indicate where the batter needs to run. Another instructor stands at second base with clappers to help the runner get to second base,” Morak explained. “The key difference between this sport and regular baseball is that once a batter starts running the bases they do not stop at first base. They touch the base but then have to keep running before the ball is thrown to second base.”
The Youth Transition Program at Lighthouse Guild, which is free of charge, is “intended to support teens with vision loss to develop skills for independence, while also making friends, being creative and staying active,” Jaydan Mitchell, Youth Services Coordinator at Lighthouse Guild explained.
“The staying active piece has been particularly challenging through the pandemic, as adaptive recreational sports have been less available, and families have been understandably hesitant to let their kids participate,” Mitchell said. “We decided to honor Sports Eye Safety Month (April) with this fun and accessible activity.”
The Youth Transition Program meets every Saturday from October through May. Interested teens may submit an application in September. Social workers, career counselors, computer training, mobility training and field trips are all provided as part of the program.