MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some of our nation’s war heroes who were severely injured in combat are getting a chance to live out some of their athletic dreams.
Flying down the hill, you’d never guess Sergio Monzon can’t see very well.
“I have double and blurred vision and I have no depth perception and I lose my vision in low light,” he explained.
It’s a problem, because avoiding obstacles, deciding where to turn and determining how fast to go all rely on sight.
“When you lose vision, you kind of pick up on other senses. I notice that I can feel people coming to my left by hearing them and listening to the noise as it gets louder,” Monzon said.
But that’s not all he’s listening to.
He has a headset connected to an extra set of eyes.
“We could really open up and go faster, Sergio. There’s no one in front.”
Jennifer Knox is that extra set.
“I am trying to give Sergio instructions on terrain and turn shapes,” she said.
Knox is an instructor at Achieve Tahoe, an organization with a simple goal: get disabled people out on snow to enjoy activities they never thought possible.
“It’s heaven, basically. You are just out there and the turns, the snow, it just changes everything. It makes a bad day become a good day,” Monzon said.
Those good days are important for Monzon, because it was one particular bad day, about a decade ago, that caused him to start losings his vision.
He was in Iraq when he said he “lost some vision there from a traumatic brain injury.”
He was a Marine, serving in Fallujah, when he was hit by a mortar round.
The blast, and the surgeries that followed, changed his life.
A decade later, his life is changed again.
“You are going to let it run your life or you are going to run your life,” he said. “And I decided that I’m going to do what I want to do.”