Blind Chicago Skateboarder Becomes Internet Sensation

[Video] Tommy Carroll might be blind but that hasn’t stopped him from impacting the skateboarding world.

Ed Millerby Ed Miller

There are always a variety of skateboarding videos that make the rounds on the internet, but one that was posted late last year has been getting an unusual amount of attention – almost 250,000 views – on YouTube. 

The video contains Chicago native Tommy Carroll showing off his skateboarding skills on a local street course.  So what’s so special about this college skateboarder? Carroll was born with cancer of the retinas and lost his sight at the age of two but he hasn’t let that stop him from doing what he loves. 

The journalism and international studies major at Northwestern University began skating at the age of 10 and has faced a variety of challenges since.  There have been doubters who thought a blind person would never be able to skate, as well as simply learning his Chicago-area course and how to time his tricks.

“All I do in skateboarding is based on sound. I'm constantly using the sound of my wheels to check if there's anything in my way and get my sense of direction, all that kind of stuff,” Carroll admits in the video.

His hard work has paid off and has certainly earned him some recognition.  Two years ago he met skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who learned of Carroll’s story and wanted to spend the day at his home.  But Carroll isn’t letting it go to his head and is using his internet fame to give back.  Carroll plans to set up a college skateboarding club in the hopes of promoting the use of protective gear, something he wears each and every time he hits the course.

“I think everybody should know that everything happens for a reason and there’s always a way to overcome an obstacle if you really want it enough,” he adds towards the end of the video.


Ed is a UFC/Extreme Sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller, and subscribe on Facebook @ CraveOnlineSports.