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Skateboarder who is blind holds workshop for metro children facing similar challenges

Learning the basics at Roberts Skate Park
Posted at 11:49 AM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-21 13:02:06-05

Teens with visual impairments had the chance to "catch some air" Saturday at Roberts Skate Park — starting with some basics.

The event was hosted by Outlook Enrichment, a nonprofit helping those with vision loss.

Skilled skateboarder Nicholas Mullins taught the workshop. At the age of 18, he contracted MRSA — a bacterial infection — resulting in blindness.

"Turning 18, I was ready to travel the world and do skateboarding as much as possible. It was devastating, it felt like the world was ripped out from underneath me," Mullins said.

Losing sight — but not heart or passion — Mullins threw his energies back onto his skateboard.

"Baby steps, baby-baby steps, and before I knew it, I was right back on a ramp, doing the things I was doing before I even lost my vision," Mullins said.

Now, he's using his saving grace to help others that are visually impaired like Shiloh Erickson.

"They show me and then I think that I just want to keep on getting one and trying to do some tricks," Erickson said.

Mullins says balance and leaning in are key to mastering skateboarding.

"Anything in your life, that's making you struggle — it could be blindness or a rough home life — just find out what makes you happy," Mullins said.

These are valuable lessons, a teacher feels compelled to share with his student.

"Always say to yourself, 'Never give up.' Just try to do something else and you have something you want to do but you lost your eyesight...just keep trying to do what you wanted to do," Erickson said.

Mullins was also the subject of a documentary called "You and the Thing that You Love," part of the PBS 2021 Short Film Festival.

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