Blind vet looking for '12 Paralympics

Posted by Ralph | 3:52 PM

As Steven Baskis pedals, his right knee stings, his left arm freezes and the vivid colors he loved seeing are covered in darkness. His calming smile still stretches a mile.

“When I question myself,” Baskis said, “I think about my buddy who didn’t make it and some of my other buddies. They’re not going to have the opportunity to live their life.”

The U.S. Army specialist has discovered new meaning to a life that nearly ended, driven by a fast-rising career in road cycling 16 months after an insurgent attack in Iraq left him blind, limited his mobility and damaged his motor skills.

Part of a four-person security patrol, Baskis, 23, of Chicago, was riding inside an armored vehicle in May 2008, when a roadside bomb detonated near Baghdad. It sprayed his body with shrapnel and killed another soldier.

His eyeballs were blown from his sockets. He severed an artery in his left arm, disrupting circulation and causing nerve damage, and his right leg, triggering arthritis and joint pain. Bleeding on his brain required 10-plus surgeries.

Baskis rides with a sighted pilot — his performance this week during a U.S. Association of Blind Athletes camp in Colorado Springs a steppingstone to the 2012 Paralympics.
“I’ve got to push myself when I’m hurting,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of life ahead of me.”

Source - Photo Credit - Kevin Kreck

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