How amazing is Gary?

Here’s Gary’s sporty nystagmus success story …

Since 2014 I’ve been playing county cricket for Warwickshire Visually Impaired Cricket Club. The club comprises players of all ages (my shirt number is 49 – the age at which I made my debut) and varying levels of sight. Several of our players are registered blind and we also have two players with albinism who have nystagmus.
Blind cricket follows most of the laws of cricket, with a few modifications. The ball is white and bigger and contains ball bearings to assist the players with a lower level of vision. The stumps are bigger and the boundary is slightly shorter. Totally blind players are allowed to take a wicket with a catch on the first bounce. Each team must have a certain number of players of each sight classification. My classification, awarded after a high street optician sight test and referral to British Blind Sport, is B4 (high partial).
The game has taken me around the country and I’ve played in two T20 Finals days. We have also won the County Championship twice.
I’ve relished this belated opportunity to play cricket again, especially as I had to give up the “red ball” game at primary school due to risk of injury.
I would recommend the game for anyone who likes sport, regardless of their age or gender as we have mixed teams.
More information can be found on the Blind Cricket England and Wales website.

No limits

This week the video blog at the Nystagmus Network features the amazing Josh!
Josh is a keen skier who loves to take part in ski competitions. However, he was once told that even though he has nystagmus, he’s not visually impaired enough to take part in disability races by the IPC. So, what did Josh do? Check out the video and find out….

Rugby champion shares his nystagmus story!

I’m Wil Maudsley and I was diagnosed with nystagmus at three months old. From the outset my family decided that I would do everything my peers would do and I strongly believe that this has made me the person I am today. Objects do not move around with my vision, but I wouldn’t know what it would be like to have “normal vision”. My nystagmus affects me in different ways day to day like not being able to drive or recognise people at a distance, but sport is one place where I don’t let it. I might find things a little harder than everyone else at first but with the right attitude and enough patience I believe that anything can be achieved.

I currently work as a community rugby league coach for the Warrington Wolves Foundation. Through the foundation we do lots of events to raise money for the charity. I will mention a few that I’m extremely proud of. I am a massive rugby fan and have played since I was four years old. I am currently playing fullback for Woolston Rovers ARLFC in the NCL league.

“From the outset my family decided I could do everything my peers could do” – Wil Maudsley

My biggest achievement to date is completing the national three peaks challenge in less than 24 hours. 23:43 to be exact! The challenge meant that we had to travel to and climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scarfel Pike in the Lake District and Mt Snowdon in Wales all in under 24 hours. I was one of only four of our group of 15 that completed the challenge in time. The challenge was physically tough especially having to climb one of the mountains in the dark and, as you can imagine, was a little extra difficult for me.

Another challenge I have completed is our charity cycle to St James Park in Newcastle. We left the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday 28 May and cycled 190 miles over two days, arriving at St James Park on Saturday 30 May ready for a full weekend of Super League fixtures. We battled the rain, hail and wind, along with the North Yorkshire hills, and all completed the challenge safely. It was a fantastic experience and one that I would love to do again.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is not to be embarrassed if you need help and not to be scared to ask. When I was younger I was guilty of this and would often struggle on my own. I think I was almost too proud to ask for help. I also think I was a little worried about what people would think of me or how they would react. But in reality everyone I’ve asked for help has been more than happy to. They’re usually genuinely really interested in my eyes and how they work.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is not to be embarrassed if you need help and not to be scared to ask” – Wil Maudsley

Sound tennis

have always enjoyed sport but often found that trying to take part was frustrating due to my nystagmus, particularly with sports that require seeing the movement of a ball and connecting with it. I tried tennis a few times when I was younger but it seemed impossible. I would never be able to play it.

In 2014, however, we started playing Sound Tennis in Brighton and Hove. Sound Tennis uses a spongy ball that can be heard when it bounces. Those with no or very limited vision (B1 & B2) are allowed 3 bounces. Partially sighted players (B3) are allowed 2 bounces. The extra bounce(s) allow more time to locate the ball. For me lighting conditions and colour contrast make a big difference so in some situations I rely more on hearing to tell where the ball is. Little did I realise how addictive the game would be. I learnt to serve, hit backhands and forehands and gradually hold rallies and hit winning shots.

My colleague, Christine Laurence, who also has nystagmus, had been travelling to London to play the game and contacted me to ask if I would be interested in helping to set up a local club. We organised a launch in February 2014 and were amazed that 29 people turned up, 19 of whom were visually impaired. Sound Tennis Sussex was off to a flying start.

Since then we have helped to set up groups in Shoreham and Eastbourne with others planned. A number of us have taken part in competitions in Newcastle and Cambridge and the National Visually Impaired Championship at the National Tennis Centre at Roehampton, London. We also organised a tournament against a team from London and held a friendly tournament with the Eastbourne club. In November 2015 we received the disability programme award from Tennis Sussex at a ceremony at the Amex stadium.

We have a number of players with nystagmus. The age-range of players is from children to the over 80s. Many like me have never been able to play a racket sport before, but others have been thrilled to find that they can continue or resume playing tennis after a diagnosis of sight loss.

Sound Tennis is growing fast in the UK and across the world and there are ambitions to get the sport into the Paralympics. There are a number of clubs in cities around the country where you can go along and give it a try. Visit to find out more.