Illustrating the Daniels Fund's impact in the communities we serve

United States Association of Blind Athletes, Incorporated

A Daniels Fund Impact Story

Grant Profile:
World Youth Championships, Pan American Games and Mission & Vision Program
Grant Funding Area:
Amateur Sports
Grant Impact Area:
Grant Year:
Grant Amount:

Grant purpose:  To support the World Youth Championships, Pan American Games, and the Mission & Vision Program.

How this organization is helping make lives better:   The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) provides life-enriching sport opportunities for the blind and visually impaired and works to change negative perceptions of blindness.  In 2009, the organization hosted the World Youth Championships in conjunction with the International Blind Sports Association Pan American Games.  The event brought hundreds of players, trainers, coaches, and volunteers together and provided the opportunity for local blind and visually impaired youth to experience competition and gain inspiration to participate in sports. 

The organization’s Mission & Vision program fully funds active duty members and veterans who have sustained eye injuries to participate in National sports festivals that develop the skills necessary to compete in events such as the State Games of America. 

Impact story:

At the age of 17, Greg was blinded by a self-inflicted gunshot injury to the head.  After several years of learning to live with blindness, he eventually realized that he wanted to lose a few pounds and rejoin the realm of athletics – he had grown up an athlete, talented and full of potential.

His doctor recommended he try judo, an activity often deemed very “blind-friendly,” meaning the sport didn’t have to be too severely adapted for the blind and visually impaired in order to compete.  On the very same day Greg heard about judo from his doctor, he attended his first practice.

Greg started competing in local tournaments among both sighted and blind athletes and eventually grew to love the sport.

“Some people in society say regardless of a disability, you can do anything you want. I found that limitations do exist,” Greg said. “The trick is to work as hard as you can within your limitations.  “[For me] it was about accepting, understanding, and maximizing what I can do with the least amount of limits.”

Though Greg is one of the smaller athletes in his weight class, size doesn’t intimidate him – a confidence he attributes to his former wrestling career.

In February of 2007, Greg was discovered at the San Jose Buddhist Sensei Memorial Tournament where he went 4-0 against sighted competition. He was asked to try out for the U.S. Blind Judo team. Greg happily accepted and he landed a spot on the team.  He eventually also landed a spot on the 2008 Beijing Paralympics team, bringing home the bronze medal that year.  

Currently, Greg is a student at Chico State in California. He is focusing his attention on therapeutic recreation and wants to someday help children who are battling cancer.  

For more information, please contact:
United States Association of Blind Athletes, Incorporated
33 North Institute
Colorado Springs, CO   80903
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