Dan Mancina: The blind skateboarder difficult misconceptions about sight and sport


Dan Mancina is a skateboarder whose jaw-dropping movies rack up tons of of 1000’s of views.

He has a loyal following on Instagram, all desirous to see him touchdown jumps and all types of skillful tips.

Mancina additionally occurs to be blind – and movies of him utilizing his white cane as he boards conjures up curiosity and admiration from followers world wide.

“I’ve lost my vision slowly throughout my life,” he informed CNN Sport, explaining that it wasn’t till his mid-20s that his situation – a neurodegenerative eye illness referred to as retinitis pigmentosa – began to have an effect on his dayto-day life, stopping him from driving and biking.

“Eventually [I] got to the point where I didn’t think I could leave the house without a person, like a human guide or somebody, a friend. I couldn’t even walk around my own block and stuff like that,” the 35-year-old added.

The 35-year-old spent a few years trying to figure what he as a blind person could do -- before finding his way back to skateboarding.

“I’m trying to figure out “what is a blind person? What can a blind person do?”

The Michigan native began skating at seven, however obtained into it extra significantly at 13, creating a love for the game which he says helps him specific himself.

“You can do it by yourself if you want to, or with friends, and just kind of be in your own little world,” he mentioned.

Mancina, who had desires of being a pro-skateboarder, stopped skating for a few years. This era, he mentioned, was his “lowest point.”

However orientation and mobility coaching helped him acquire confidence and, slowly, he returned to doing what he cherished, fishing, spending time outdoor and, in fact, skateboarding.

“I really thought skateboarding was done and out of my life and in my past,” the American, who counts Adidas as one in all his sponsors, mentioned.

“I didn’t think I’d be able get the same things out of it that I did when I was sighted, or be able to really progress or push myself.”

He began filming brief movies of his progress and posting on Instagram and Youtube and met a brand new group of individuals to skate with, gaining sufficient confidence to return to the streets.

“It just took me actually trying it, and doing it and then realizing I can get those things out of it,” he added.

“I’m going through these realizations about my blindness and myself and realizing: I’m still the same person and I can still do all the things that I love. I just had to do them a little bit different.”

Now, Mancina desires to problem misconceptions round blindness and create areas the place visually impaired individuals can benefit from the sport.

Mancina found his way back to skateboarding years after losing his sight.

He films his videos in part to challenge miconceptions around what visually impared people can achieve.

“I wanted to build the first fully adaptive skatepark designed around visual impairments, so I started a foundation called ‘Keep Pushing Incorporated’ and have been raising money ever since [for] a few years now,” he mentioned.

The park, set to be in-built Mancina’s house state of Michigan, will use adaptive strategies, reminiscent of growing the dimensions of obstacles, including distinction to obstacles and utilizing auditory cues to make it protected and accessible.

“[The] ledges are actually lengthy and flat bars are actually lengthy, the quarter pipes are actually large.

“So there’s kind of more time to figure out where you are in the park, find your way around, easier to get on and off rails for wheelchairs and using a lot of contrast too, is important for those who have a little bit of residual vision between the ramps and the ground,” he defined.

Mancina has raised round $40,000 for the park, and after pouring concrete this fall, hopes to be operating skate workshops by subsequent spring and summer season.

With a spacious structure and tactile floor, Mancina is constructing the park with blind faculties, organizations, rehabilitation facilities, and different adaptive sports activities organizations in thoughts.

“They should have access to everything, just like every other child,” he mentioned. “Skateboarding is simply a kind of issues – you understand, it’s not for everyone, however there are going to be these children who wish to skate.

“I’m honored and hopefully I generally is a voice for our group. That’s why I began my social media stuff, to alter the notion of the visually impaired.

“I noticed a big difference in the way people treated me as a sighted person compared to a blind person,” he mentioned, explaining that some individuals have decrease expectations of what a blind individual can obtain.

“Some people think it’s crazy and not possible to skate. It’s not that crazy … in my head. It’s just, I enjoy skating. So I’m going to do it. So I encourage people to think that way – don’t let other people dictate your life and decide what you can and can’t do. You know, it’s all up to you.”

As for the long run, Mancina has a lot of plans.

“Number one is just skating as long as I can and keep being able to live this life for as long as I can,” he mentioned.

“Keep filming parts [is goal] number one, and then keep progressing, all that stuff, and then working towards getting skateboarding in the Paralympics.”