Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind grad, coach head to Tokyo for Paralympics

FSDB coach Keith Young, FSDB 2001 grad Daryl Walker to represent USA in goalball.

Daryl Walker positions himself on the goalball court at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. Photo by Shannon Galea/Wheelchair Sports USA
Photo by Shannon Galea/Wheelchair Sports USA

A St. Augustine resident and a Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind graduate are heading to the Paralympics in Tokyo, representing the United States in a sport many might not have heard of: goalball.

Created in 1946 as a way to help blind World War II veterans, goalball "is the most popular team sport for the blind and visually impaired," according to the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a powerhouse in the sport, having racked up more than 20 national championships.

Keith Young wearing a blue polo shirt with a Florida Goalball emblem.

"It's the best doggone sport you've never heard of," said Keith Young, coach of the USA Men's Goalball Team and the boys' goalball team at FSDB.

Young and Daryl Walker, who graduated from the school in 2001, made their way to Tokyo this week. But they took time to talk with The Record before departing.

It's 'an honor'

Growing up, Daryl Walker wanted to play football, basketball and other sports. While he pursued his desires of becoming an athlete, he faced challenges with albinism, which impairs his vision.

Daryl Walker wearing a #1 USA jersey holding a goalball on his right hip.
Photo by Julie Larame

But he never lost his drive to compete.

Walker, now 39 and a Fort Wayne, Indiana, resident, attended FSDB in the '90s. That's where he first tried goalball.