Athlete Feature – Omar Santana

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“To describe my vision would be like looking through a dirty milk cup,” says Santana, an Ignite Student with Colorado Center for the Blind. “I have an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. In my twenties, I had my full vision. I could drive a car and was very involved in sports.”

After previously trying skiing at Ignite, on this day, Santana was giving it a go with snowboarding. “I just wanted to try something new!” he says, “I think it’s going pretty well too. I’m just balancing and making sure I have the right stance.”

Growing up in Queens, New York, with a successful career as an Music DJ, Santana found himself in Denver spinning at a local nightclub. Loving what Colorado had to offer on the music scene as well as outdoor recreation, and then learning about the Colorado Center for the Blind, a world-renowned training center located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, in Littleton, Santana decided to move here.  “I did a tour, met the staff, and thought it was fantastic, so here I am.”

The Colorado Center for the Blind, in concert with Ignite Adaptive Sports, provides students with a chance to learn how to use athletics to find independence, opportunity and success. “I find myself applying the use of sports in my everyday life.”  Santana shares, “When you’re using the cane, you really have to pay attention to the surface, and where you’re walking.  I used to just walk and run everywhere, but now I just pace myself a lot more and find myself tuning into my ears for information.” With his positive attitude and determined personality, Santana will continue his success as an athlete of many sports.

Santana taking runs at Eldora with his Volunteer Instructor.

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