Inspiration Report

Daniel X. O'Neil |

Daniel X. O’Neil |

Adonis Watt is a 14 year old running back at Phoenix Brophy Prep. He stands at 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds and recently ran two touchdowns at a game against Mountain View. He much preferred these two close-range touchdowns to the 45 yard touchdown he made during his first football game. The reason? Mountain View did not give them to him because he was blind.

Adonis lost most of his vision due to congenital glaucoma when he was seven years old, and the rest faded away over time. That did not, however, stop him from being determined to play tackle football like his brother. “He wanted to be better than me at everything,” said Jordan Watt, Adonis’ older brother. “I had to make sure he wasn’t better than me at anything. A handout in our household is, ‘If you want something, you outwork everyone for it.’”

Adonis has certainly taken that lesson to heart, and insists that he not be treated any differently on the field by his opponents. He wants the other players to tackle him or try and take the ball. “I’m a football player,” he said. “That’s what they’re supposed to do.”

Adonis plays despite his blindness by relying on his hearing and intuition. “Most of the time, I try to use my ears to hear anything that is coming,” he said. “The plays happen so fast. I just tell my linemen to do their job and get (the defenders) out of the way.”

The trick seems to be working for Adonis. “He’s got a spacial awareness that is impressive,” said Scott Heideman, the coach for the freshman players. “He’s been around Brophy for three weeks and he’s very independent. He’s always mapping it out. I’m always astonished at how he gets from place to place, let alone find holes and places on the field that he’s going to fit into.”

Adonis’ refusal to let his disability set limitations or make him afraid to play football has made him an inspiration to others both at his school and beyond.

“He doesn’t know he should be afraid,” said Veronica Watt, Adonis’ mother. “I don’t think he’s afraid of anything. He thinks he’s as big and strong as everybody else.”

“No point in being scared,” said Adonis. “That’s how you get injured.”

He certainly was not scared at the game against Mountain View. “We didn’t even tell the officials [Adonis was blind] this game,” said Heideman. Everything Adonis achieved that game was earned, and he would not have it any other way.

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