Blind teen golfer defies the odds

August 13, 2008 9:26:39 AM PDT
We all have to deal with adversity at some point in our lives, but few have dealt with Matt Cooper's situation.

"Yes! That's the drive of the day," says Matt.

15-year-old Matt Cooper has quite a golf swing.

You'd never know he's blind.

"Three would be the age I was diagnosed as being blind."

Doctors discovered a brain tumor was causing Matt to lose his eyesight. They removed 80 percent of the tumor and Matt is receiving chemo to control it. His family moved to North Carolina to be near the Duke Medical Center.

"I went to a clinic for junior blind golfers. That's when I really started getting into it."

That's where he met his coach, Frank Maynard.

"He's got a great swing and a positive attitude, which is helpful on a golf course," says Maynard.

Matt's never seen a golf swing, so he depends on his other senses. His coach lines him up, giving him an audible cue for direction, sets his club and Matt then has to feel his way through the swing.

Balance is the toughest part without sight.

"The hardest thing to overcome is learning it more by feel," says Matt.

On the greens, his dad taps the flagstick in the hole so matt can get a sense of the distance before he putts.

"That's the one advantage, I'm not worrying about following it," says a chuckling Matt.

His parents couldn't be more proud.

"He's made the best at what he was dealt. I think he'll do well and keep going," says Matt's father Daniel.

"We always say he may be blind, but he's sees way more than any of us see," says his mother Wendy.

Matt's caddy, Twila, is from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, and with everything he's overcome, he knows he's a role model.

"Just saying blindness is a difference not a disability, is the saying I like," says Matt.

For more on this check out the Back Story.

MORE LINKS
www.blindbabies.org


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