Mormon Paralympian Chris Dodds
Chris Dodds, who competed in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing on the goalball team, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa when he was twelve. After losing his sight, he became a passionate player of goalball, something he had played while he was able to see.
Goalball is a fierce sport developed specifically for those with vision impairments. Those who have some vision wear blindfolds to level the playing field. It was created in 1946 for veterans of World War II, and is played with a three pound rubber ball that has bells in it. Teams of three players try to maneuver the ball into their opponent’s goal, similar to a hockey goal, using only sound to track the ball. Players block the ball by throwing their bodies onto the floor, and move it by throwing it from a standing position. It is a physically grueling sport.
Dodds told the Deseret News:
“Goalball is so unpredictable. Sometimes you have the illusion a ball is going where it’s not. … I love it because it’s not an adapted sport. And I don’t want to take anything away from those other sports … but this is its own game. It’s our game.” (Utahn a Top Goalball Player)
Chris has been a member of the National Team since 2001. He is a leader in the sport and a starter for the 2008 Paralympics games in Beijing, China. This is his second Paralympics, having taken Bronze in the previous competition. He holds a large number of medals in competitions beginning as a youth, including two gold medals (USABA National Goalball Championships and USABA National Youth Goalball). In 2001, he was named the best defender in the world.
Chris Dodd lives in Logan, Utah, with his wife, Brandy, who is a former goalball player, and their young daughter. He is a student at the University of Utah, planning to work with the visually impaired after graduation.