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VIDEO: Blind basketball coach inspires Abbotsford high school students

Langley Secondary School coach Sheldon Guy shares lessons learned since losing his sight in 2021

Sheldon Guy is a basketball coach at Langley Secondary School who lost his sight abruptly in December 2021, and has since been featured in a TSN documentary and given presentations telling his remarkable story.

On Tuesday (April 2) he visited Abbotsford’s St. John Brebeuf High School and inspired students with what he has learned since losing his sight.

Guy knows the school quite well. He is the senior girls basketball coach at LSS and has coached on the sidelines for many years against St. John Brebeuf. Coincidentally, Guy’s team plays against the school next week. But on Tuesday his purpose was different. Rather than try and win a basketball game he taught the students valuable life lessons.

Guy opened by saying, “I am not a presenter; this is just my story.” Emotional and nervous, he shared how he has chosen to pivot despite his difficult situation. He taught the students three things: It’s OK not to be OK; pivot; and perseverance.

While driving in a tunnel over two years ago, Guy noticed his vision start to decrease. Doctors said he was suffering from anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, similar to having a stroke in the eye.

“It wasn’t something I was expecting,” Guy said. “All of a sudden the world just went dark.”

In the hospital with a pile of pills in one hand and his phone in the other, his son sent him a loving and positive text. He dropped the pills on the floor and didn’t attempt suicide that day.

Although Guy admits he did not want to live without his sight, “something drove me to continue my passion and my purpose.”

Guy went back to coaching at LSS almost immediately. He learned to know what was happening in a game by listening to sounds, such as the noise of players running or the swoosh of the basketball.

Since coming back to coach Guy has been featured in the TSN documentary Pivot as well as other television specials. He also recently completed a spartan race, which is a five-kilometre trek up a mountain with obstacles. Although life is still very difficult, Guy is learning to navigate it without sight and is still doing what he loves to do.

The world has not always been kind to Guy since he became blind. He has been spat on, had his cane taken, called names and was even hit by a car. Despite that, he knows the majority of people are kind and compassionate. The students, in awe of hearing how horrible Guy has been treated, were noticeably inspired by his positive thinking.

Guy still hopes to get his sight back. He was told there was nothing doctors in B.C. could do to help him, but there was a potential treatment available in Germany. A GoFundMe was created last year to help cover the costs and is still ongoing.

“We’re all going to go through things,” Guy said. “But we get to choose what to do. And I call that pivoting.”

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