[nfbmi-talk] Osman Koroma

Larry Posont president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 00:47:25 UTC 2014

National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
7189 Connors Rd.
Munising, MI 49862

April 21, 2014

Dear Michigan Federationists:

     Here is some information you may wish to read about Osman Koroma.
 Osman Koroma, the 23-year-old blind man who was hit by a car last
month, is still recovering from his injuries at Mary Free Bed, but on
Wednesday he returned to a familiar setting among friends. Koroma,
known as "Ozzie" to friends, joined about half his goalball team, the
Mary Free Bed Sonics , for a practice April 16. He exchanged laughter
and friendly banter with his teammates, who practice weekly and
participate in tournaments. "It's just great to be back and to hear
the sounds of goalball again," Koroma said as he sat in a wheelchair
on the sidelines. He's confident he'll return to playing the game when
he can again put weight on his right leg. Each day, he's able to walk
a little faster with the aid of a walker. Koroma suffered a brain
injury and a broken leg when he was struck by a car while walking
along South South Division Avenue, near 56th Street in Wyoming, on the
evening of March 19. His guide dog, Gala, died in the crash. Koroma
earlier said he has compassion for the driver and hopes he or she can
move on. For days following the crash, Koroma was in critical
condition and in an induced coma at Spectrum Health Butterworth
Hospital. Doctors removed a small part of his skull to relieve
pressure on his brain. Donning camouflage-print sunglasses, Koroma
joked he looked "pretty sweet" in his new custom baseball cap helmet
to protect his head after the brain injury. He flashed a big smile and
said he felt "wonderful, as always. It was apparent the serious
accident wasn't getting him down as he used his walker - with the help
of a recreational and oc'cup'ational therapist - to make his way
around the gymnasium before practice started. A native of Liberia,
Koroma developed cataracts as a child. He can see some shadows. Koroma
said it's "moving" to be part of a sport that brings joy to blind
people. Goalball involves two teams of three facing off against each
other on a court. The goal is to roll a ball with a bell inside it
past the opposing team and into its goal. The Mary Free Bed Sonics
have been practicing since November. Wearing knee and elbow pads, the
men slid and dove to block the ball. Coach Bob Ruffin encouraged
onlookers to be silent so the players could hear the ball. "Regardless
of their blindness, they can still play," Koroma said of his
teammates. "It's very empowering. I believe they are not hopeless.
They still have these athletic skills to play and to be powerful.
Teammate Frank Kapugia said it was good to be back around Koroma's
enthusiasm and constant laughter. Koroma joked that the team owed him
a lot of Popeyes chicken - a running joke for whenever a player rolls
the ball out of bounds. Oc'cup'ational Therapist Jillian Baker said
she's hopeful Koroma will be released from Mary Free Bed next week.
Koroma said he thanks God for giving him the strength to return to his
independent life. "I know He still has work for me to do, so it's
going to be good to be back home. Angie Jackson covers public safety
and breaking news for MLive/The Grand Rapids Press. Email her at
ajackso3 at mlive.com , and follow her on Twitter . .

Larry Posont
 National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
 (906) 387-3546
Email: president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
 Web page: www.nfbmi.org

Munising home of the beautiful Pictured Rocks.

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