As somebody who gave up on skateboarding because it was frustrating, I feel like a grade-A asshole right now, as a blind teenager from Chicago is shredding away, inspiring thousands all over the world in the process.
The video, uploaded to Vimeo three weeks ago, has been seen nearly 500,000 times.
Tommy Carroll was born with bi-lateral retinoblastoma, also known as cancer of the retinas, and was left blind at the age of two.
Carroll, who attends Northwestern University, has been skating since he was 10-year-old, and uses his keen sense of sound to know where he is on the half pipe.
“All I do in skateboarding is based on sound. I’m constantly using the sound of my wheels to check if there’s anything in my way and get my sense of direction, all that kind of stuff,” he said in the Vimeo video.
“I think everybody should know that everything happens for a reason and there’s always a way to overcome an obstacle if you really want it enough.”
Like any other skateboarder, he falls, but falling poses many additional risks for Carroll.
“Falling is a skill you get good at just the same as getting good at the sport itself,” he says in the film.
When he first took up the sport, his mother was concerned, but became supportive when she saw how passionate he was about it.
“My dad was pretty cool. My mom was more worried. But if I wanted to do it, she supported it,” he said. “Luckily there’s been some positive media attention and scientific studies showing the adrenaline and stuff generated by [skateboarding]. It’s a good alternative to drugs and stuff like that. I feel like there’s been some positive light shed on it.”
His skill even earned him a video interview with the legendary Tony Hawk, who was a big fan of his videos.
Check out Carroll’s skills, and remember that you can do anything you apply yourself to!
Jordan Shepherd | Elite.