Daryl Walker and Keith Young were destined to meet.
Daryl has albinism, which causes sensitivity to light. In 1996, he came to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) for 7th grade. Here, he discovered goalball, a sport for the blind and visually impaired.
At first, he thought, “This is the silliest sport ever invented.” But, in his senior year, he realized it was the best sport for him.
“My time at FSDB led me to goalball,” Daryl says, “It gave me the one thing I’ve carried with me my whole life.” Daryl graduated in 2001 and joined the U.S. Men’s Goalball Team in 2003.
In 2015, Keith started at FSDB as a P.E. teacher and goalball coach. By 2018, FSDB’s team was the National High School Goalball Champion. That same year, Daryl’s team needed a new coach for the Parapan American Games. Keith stepped in, and the U.S. qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
In Tokyo, their team earned 4th place. Daryl shares, “This year is so special. I married the love of my life, became a yoga instructor, and went to the Paralympics with the best coach I’ve ever had.”
To date, Daryl has won five national championships, competed in three Paralympic Games, and earned one silver medal. He hopes to attend two more Paralympics. Keith hopes for three. And to think – it all began at FSDB!
Photos: 2020 Paralympic Games, Tokyo, Japan, OIS/Simon Bruty
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school in historic St. Augustine, available to eligible pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired or deafblind. The FSDB experience gives students the edge to do more, be more, and achieve more,