There are three reasons why I love this time of year: the French Open wraps up on Sunday, followed by Wimbledon at the end of June and the U.S. Open at the end of August. Boring? Hardly! Thrilling? Frequently. The agility and strength of the athletes is jaw dropping as they slam the ball back and forth with precision and power, and sweat and grunts, delivering shots that make me marvel over and over again.
The current Grand Slam action definitely puts me in a tennis state of mind, so I was very interested in an article in the New York Times about a way to play tennis that had never occurred to me: blind tennis. Fortunately, it’s occurred to people who are blind or who have limited vision – and it’s growing in popularity.
Thomas Lin writes:
Blind tennis is made possible, scientists say, by the adaptability of the human brain – which appears to repurpose its visual area, the occipital cortex, to process sound and touch in response to blindness.
A series of studies discovered activity in the visual cortex when blind test subjects read Braille, and found that a blind woman could no longer make sense of the raised dots after suffering an occipital stroke. Another study, of sighted subjects who were blindfolded, showed that the occipital cortex began processing tactile and auditory information within five days.
If you missed the story or you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend doing so – and the story has a nice video that’s worth watching.