SOWI athlete’s dedication to Healthy Athletes pays off in more ways than one

May 30, 2017

Alex (right) with Dr. Kellye Knueppel

Alex (right) with Dr. Kellye Knueppel, Clinical Director for Opening Eyes

SOWI athlete Alex Myers and his mom Maria made sure to get to UW-Oshkosh extra early this year for the Indoor Sports Tournament. But it wasn’t because Alex was playing in the tournament. Alex and his mom were there for Healthy Athletes.

They make the 80-mile trip from Wauwatosa to Oshkosh every year, whether Alex is playing in the tournament or not. This year they wanted to make sure they got in early so they arrived at the location of Healthy Athletes a half hour before the clinics even opened. Their dedication to the clinics paid off – despite not playing in the tournament, Alex still medaled for participating in ALL of the Healthy Athletes stations!

Alex has been a multifaceted SOWI athlete for 10 years, competing in the likes of basketball, swimming, bowling, track, soccer, bocce and snowshoeing. Shockingly, half of that time in competition was done while barely being able to see out of his right eye. Despite poor vision, Alex refused to wear glasses until their first trip to Opening Eyes and Dr. Knueppel changed Alex’s life in 2012.

At that Opening Eyes clinic, Dr. Knueppel determined that Alex had severe astigmatism in his right eye and fixed his prescription. Since that time, Alex has worn his glasses. Every year now Alex gets his annual eye exam from Dr. Knueppel at Opening Eyes. This year she determined that Alex’s prescription has again changed a bit. Alex and Maria are excited to be getting his new glasses soon.

“The volunteers are so committed to helping the athletes. They ‘know’ Alex and in turn, he’s comfortable with them – which is a big deal. He openly communicates with them about his vision. They make him feel relaxed and therefore he’s more engaging,” Maria said.

In addition to Alex’s many sports, his favorite activity is flying remote-controlled airplanes. He loves all things aviation. Now, thanks to the volunteers of Opening Eyes like Dr. Knueppel and her team, Alex can see his plane high up in the sky far better than he could just a few years ago.

And as he trains for next year’s Indoor Sports Tournament, he can also see his basketball shots go in much better now too. But whether Alex’s team makes it to the tournament next year or not, you know Alex and his mom will be there – and early.

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