رمضان 13, 1435 | North America: South Carolina

Bringing Home Gold and a New Pair of Glasses

By Leigh Cheatham

Kevin shoots a layup during the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. Photo credit - 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

Kevin Sessions, 19, and his dad and coach Warren Sessions found that a trip to Special Olympics Healthy Athletes helped to make Team South Carolina’s goal of gold a possibility at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.

Kevin had been having some trouble in basketball practice for a few weeks leading up to Games. At first, Warren thought it was just a bad day, but the problem persisted. Kevin told his dad that things were just blurry and he couldn't see clearly. 

The first chance they got at USA Games, Warren took Kevin and his brother and teammate Christopher over to the Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes clinic. Turns out, Kevin has some spots behind his eyes, which could be the beginning stages of glaucoma.  He was also diagnosed with nearsightedness.  Kevin was fit for glasses onsite and told to pick them up the next day. There was a big basketball game scheduled for the next day and Warren asked the Opening Eyes volunteers if there was any way to get the glasses before Team South Carolina played... Twenty minutes later, Kevin could see clearly. 

The next day was the big game. The team warmed up on the court and Warren immediately could tell the difference in Kevin’s shooting.  During that game, with his new glasses on, Kevin scored 12 points! Kevin and his team went on to win gold. See Chris in his new glasses in the front row in a photo taken after his team cut down the net.

Warren says that it couldn't have happened without the generosity of the team at Healthy Athletes. "It was great to see someone get to the level to help your child. Plus it totally boosted his confidence level."

Kevin was one of 1,079 athletes who completed free Healthy Athletes exams at the 2014 USA Games. Based on the exams at Opening Eyes alone, 49 percent of athletes - including Kevin - who went through Opening Eyes received or will receive prescription eyewear.

About Leigh Cheatham: Director of Communications, Special Olympics South Carolina
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