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Visually impaired curling team helps athletes fight isolation in Campbell River, B.C.


Campbell River, B.C., is now home to one of four blind curling teams in the province made up of players with varying degrees of visual impairments.

“The team has from 20 per cent loss down to only having 20 per cent [sight] or even less,” says Bruce Laurie, who coaches the team and helped it get up and running.

"Each athlete needs to be treated a little bit differently," Laurie says.

Key to each player’s ability to curl is a red and white light mounted to a curling broom. The players are guided by Laurie as he stands a short distance away from players leaving the hack line area and then he steps out of the way after they’ve released the rock.

“It’s just working on what limited sight they have and using a light for them to shoot towards," he says.

Kelvin Adams is completely blind in his left eye and has limited vision in his right.

“I personally can’t see the far house so it’s just like a sound," Adams says. "I can’t see the rocks so, for me, I listen after I deliver the rock. If I don’t hear the sound, you know, Oh, I didn’t get the rock."

He, like the other players on the team, enjoys the social aspects of the sport.

“The biggest thing for me is getting away from that isolation that you have when you’re blind," he says.

Adams says whether it’s curling, blind golfing or blind bowling, it’s vital for those with visual impairments to find some sort of sports to become involved with.

“In British Columbia alone, it’s estimated to be 60,000 people with significant sight loss, they don’t really have anything to do so we need more activities for people that are dealing with significant sight loss” he says.

Laurie is issuing a challenge to any of the other curling clubs on Vancouver Island to come up with their own blind curling teams. He says he’s more than willing to help them get started.

“I’ll help them figure out the light systems and help them with the direction," he says. Top Stories

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