Bringing blind cricketers together

If you’re passionate about sport, it’s only natural that you’ll want to share your enthusiasm with others. David Martin lives with vision impairment, but is such an ardent fan of blind cricket, that he’s going the extra mile by offering one-on-one free cricketing lessons.

David’s aim? To establish a blind cricket group in Karratha. His tuition is open to all, both young and old.

I’m sport mad, but lots of clubs for people who are blind and vision impaired are in the cities and not in remote areas. It’s time that changed. I’m happy to get the momentum rolling.

David Martin
Sports enthusiast
David walks across the cricket pitch with cricket bat in hand. He is wearing a bright yellow shirt
David’s got the expertise to teach others as he currently plays for the WA Blind Cricket team – the ‘Venetians’. He’s already got his message out on ABC Pilbara Radio (link opens in new window) after a chance meeting at a barbeque with a producer who was fascinated by his story and it’s easy to see why.

Working on tug boats

David, who’s 50, was born in Karratha and has spent time all around Australia working in the marine industry. For the last 12 years, the north-west mining town has been his base.

For much of his life he’s worked on tug boats. He would travel alongside large gas and oil vessels helping to manoeuvre and dock them. Seven years ago, a freak work accident left him with just one per cent vision.

“I was going up the stairs on the tugboat when the top of my head hit a bulkhead. I knocked it quite badly, I had a bit of concussion and nicked my head. Three days later I noticed my vision had altered and I could only see certain things. To describe it, I’d say it was like a curtain coming down over my eyes.”

Detached retinas

David, who was naturally concerned at what was happening, went to his local GP.

“I was referred to a specialist, he discovered there was a tear in both of my eyes and both retinas were becoming detached.”

Living in Karratha meant that David had to travel to Perth for treatment twenty times and underwent surgery thirteen times.

“It was expensive, with flights and car journeys, you can imagine the costs. Sometimes I wasn’t able to fly because they’d taken the intraocular fluid out of my eyes and replaced it with gas. This made it too dangerous to make the journey by plane.”

Unfortunately, none of the surgery was successful. While it was a big shock to learn he was losing his sight, David took it in his stride.

“I’m not one to sit around and mope, I’m a doer, so I just got on with life.”

“I have a lot of close friends in Karratha including my sister. I know my way around, am familiar with the streets. It is only 7 km long so it’s easy to get around.”

“When I get down to Perth, I play and participate in cricket games with the Venetians, but I’d like to establish a group here.”

Sporting life

Before David lost his sight he was a WA State ten pin bowler winning gold awards. While he doesn’t ten-pin bowl any more, he does enjoy blind golf and used to be the president of Blind Golf WA (link opens in new window).

David in four different golfing poses wearing various brightly coloured golfing trousers
David’s other sporting passion is golf

His wife Jodie acts as caddy and gives him direction. David was such a competent golfer that he participated in tournaments in Europe as well as at home.

“I played in the Blind Open held in Northern Ireland and also crossed into Southern Ireland for another tournament. I had to raise sponsorship to pay for the trip, for flights and accommodation, even a politician helped to fund my trip.”

”I switch sports with the seasons, in the winter my sport is golf and in summer, blind cricket.”

“I tie all the knots and I launch the boat from the jetty.”

David enlisted Orientation and Mobility specialist, Marichu Mills in the hunt to find more cricketers.

“Marichu has put me in touch with people and I spoke to a man who’s interested.”

We had a chat about blind cricket. He was very apprehensive because of the cricket ball being so hard, I have reassured him and we start lessons later this month.

David Martin
Sports enthusiast

“I’ve taught another man and also a young girl aged 11. I’d love it if people could spread the word. There’s apparently 15 people who are vision impaired or blind in Karratha. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if they could all try it out?”

David received support from VisAbility therapist in the Pilbara, Marichu Mills. She’s providing David with his walking canes and helping him to secure a mobility cane through the NDIS. VisAbility provides a range of services in remote areas as well as Perth so if you need help, get in contact with us today.