DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE

Deaf-Blind Paralympic Athlete Denied Personal Care Assistant Leaves Team USA

Many news outlets covered the decision by swimmer Becca Meyers this week to cancel her plans to compete in the Paralympics after being told she could not bring an aide due to COVID-19 restrictions. Meyers won three gold medals at the 2016 Paralympics “but the experience left her deeply shaken. In strange new surroundings, she struggled to accomplish daily tasks on her own, such as finding the athletes’ dining hall.” Since that time, her mother, Maria Meyers, has accompanied her to competitions as a “personal care assistant.” Meyers’ decision to opt out of the Tokyo games is covered in an article from NPR. Her accomplishments as a swimmer can be traced to her childhood, when Meyers wanted to be like her older siblings, who were both good athletes. Born with Usher syndrome, she is deaf and is gradually losing her vision. While she found sports like soccer, tennis and lacrosse challenging, at the age of five, Meyers began swim lessons. That made the difference. “The water was smooth… And Meyers did not have to worry about catching or throwing anything. It was all up to her.” The instructor advised her mother to have her join the swim team. The rest is Paralympic history, with this recent development curtailing her participation in this year’s event. For more on Becca Meyers’ background as a swimmer, read the article from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum Swimmer Becca Meyers found her happy place in the pool.

In the coming weeks, Resources for Partners will profile other Paralympic competitors who are blind or visually impaired.