Technology in sports is not new, but it has been used in rare cases in favor of disabled athletes than in comparison to their normal counterparts. Everyone has seen technology that has aided athletes without limbs, but for blind and deaf ones?
An innovation is taking place in this regard, thanks to Faye Frez-Albrecht, a swimmer from Gallaudet University. She is a backstroke specialist but suffering from deafness and she is legally blind too. In legally blind condition, a person can see partially.
To compete, Faye Frez-Albrecht need to focus on the color which is close to her eyes.
Faye got disqualified from a meet, two years ago, as she took very long to make it to the start due to her vision obstacles.
In order to improve and avoid such circumstances, Frez-Albrecht and her coach spent last two years researching for something to treat disabled athletes. During the years, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, NCAA, has decided to implement LED tube lights, an impressive technology is officially known as Reaction Lights System, designed with the help of Gallaudet University.
Nick Santino is the man behind the Reaction Lights System technology. After creating the first prototype, Santino partnered with Doug Matchett, the director of USA Deaf Swimming. From there, both men chose to work with Gallaudet University in 2016 to further push the idea.
Faye Frez-Albrecht is to be the first competitor to use this LED blue lights. The technology has been brought into the competition by NCAA,
“The basic problem that the deaf athletes have had to face forever — it’s that the way the sport has been set up, they make special rules to allow the deaf athletes to participate, but they don’t go anywhere near trying to make it fair,” says Larry Curran, Gallaudet’s head coach.
This is marked as a huge milestone for deaf and blind swimmers competing in colleges across the United States. However, it will take some time for this technology to find itself in the bigger competitions such as the Olympics.