Meet Lee Hoy. Despite being registered blind after suffering from the condition toxoplasmosis from birth, Lee has taken up a sport you wouldn’t necessarily associate with someone who can barely see – Mixed Martial Arts. Lee, who hails from the town of South Shields in England, first turned up at his local gym a couple of years ago after family members encouraged him to get involved to boost his confidence. Despite being registered blind, Lee found he was pretty good at MMA, and it wasn’t long before he was beating fully-sighted opponents in the ring.
“I’m a totally changed person because of the sport, and feel a lot more confident in myself and happy,” Lee told his local newspaper. “I can walk the streets with my head high, and feel that I can look after myself if I need to.”
Toxoplasmosis affects the retinas in the eyes, making it virtually impossible for someone with this debilitating condition to see in bright or dark light. This hasn’t stopped the 26 year old amateur, however.
“My lack of sight presents a lot of challenges in MMA, and because of the damage to my retinas, the depth is difficult to get used to,” says Lee. “Close range and in grappling, it’s not as bad because I can hold onto the other person, and I feel more comfortable.”
It just goes to show that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Keep up the good work, Lee!