My son, Isaiah, has no peripheral vision and can only see one foot directly in front of him. But that hasn’t stopped him from playing football. Or baseball. Or basketball.
Immediately after he was born, my wife noticed there was something that wasn’t quite right with his eyes. We thought it might just be fluid in his eyes. At two months, we took him to an eye specialist. After some extensive tests, he broke the news to us: Isaiah has bilateral optic nerve coloboma–the tissue didn’t form properly around his retina. He actually has holes in his retinas. He would never be able to see much.
While we were devastated, we also felt God blessed us with the diagnosis coming at such a young age; we could start working with specialists to help him adapt to this life. This would be his normal so it was up to us to help him make the most of life.
And boy, has he! At age four, he learned how to roller skate and ride a two-wheel bike. He started playing baseball in the Miracle League where the ball whistled when it was pitched to him. And at age 10, he started playing football. Isaiah is the nose guard on defense who lines up right over the center, so he can see when the ball is snapped. He loves the contact and practices harder than just about any kid. Some of his teammates didn’t even realize he couldn’t see a foot in front of him. But he led the team in sacks, tackles for a loss, and forced fumbles. I can’t tell you how proud I am of him tackling life with these adversities.
He says it’s all because of Jesus. He feels that if Jesus can be the light of the world, surely Jesus will light his way in life, even if he can’t see like most people. Every game, he wears a t-shirt under his jersey that says “Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Isaiah feels God made him this way for a reason, and he wants to show others you can still do just about anything no matter what you’re facing.
His mom and I have tried to teach Isaiah that he can be a living testimony to others. And we’re proud of how he’s living that out at such a young age.