Blindness has not stopped 14-year-old Cody Mulligan from wrestling, it has made him stronger.
This year, the teen athlete won his first two wrestling matches for the Sparrow's Point High junior varsity team, where he attends school in Baltimore. Cody tells the Good News blog that wrestling is just one of the many activities he enjoys like any other kid his age, and that he conquers his disability by leaving it out of the equation.
"I try not to let it stop me," Cody remarks. "I still ride my bike with my friends, I still do sports, I play football. I like to ride four-wheelers, I like to ride motorcycles."
WBAL TV reports that Cody was diagnosed with Batten's Disease at the age of 4, and though some things require assistance, the high school freshman manages to hold up extremely well on his own. He says he relies on other senses to fill in where necessary. Wrestling, for example, isn't governed by sight, and therefore, he sees blindness as an asset.
"It's pretty much about feeling anyway, because you gotta work the moves, and sometimes you can't see what you're doing. So, you kind of have an advantage in that way," Cody explains. "You have to know the moves, you have to be fast and you have to be strong."
When Cody plays football, the teen's strategy is to simply run and tackle, and because his sense of direction has become inherent, he's able to know how to traverse the field without being able to see. It's a remarkable achievement, no doubt, and he will officially join the high school team in the fall.
Cody says he depends on his friends and family to get him around, but even so, no one treats him any differently, and that's the way he wants it.
"People are willing to help if I need help and it's nice that everybody lets me be the same," he comments. "I always wanted to be on a team and everybody says good job, and keep going. They're very supportive."
Probably because Cody is turning out to be the team champ! He practices every day and has four meets left this season. The ninth-grader isn't sure what he wants to do in the future, but his school is science-focused, and that's where his interest lies.
As for the example he's setting for others, he emphasizes that his story is all about taking life in stride, being who you are, and not letting an obstacle define you.
"Don't let anything hold you back," Cody stresses. "If you have a disability, you're normal. Just do everything that everyone else does."
More of the Good News:
The NFL's Big Surprise for a Deserving Middle School Football Player
This High School Football Player Hit the Field After Losing a Leg
Man with Cerebral Palsy is One of the Heroes of the Metro-North Train Derailment