Valley athlete does not let blindness slow him down on the football field

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Vision. Coaches will say it's what separates a good running back from a great running back, the ability to see the blocks develop, hit the hole, and go.

But what if a person is blind?

"Adonis is legally blind," said Veronica Watt. "He's 101% blind in both eyes."

Adonis Watt, 14, is a freshman running back at Brophy Prep, and you wouldn't know it when he gets the ball, but the odds are seriously stacked against him. Watt, 14, lost his sight when he was five because of congenital glaucoma, a rare condition that effects young children.

Watt's mother, Veronica, was there when it happened

"One day, I took him swimming with me, I taught all my kids to swim and I said, 'I'm right here, trust me, I'm here', and he went underwater and he came up and it was instantaneous blindness," said Veronica. "In my mind, Adonis was going to be one of us. He was going to be an athlete, he was going to be a student athlete, and when this occurred I immediately thought, what can I do to fix it, we gotta fix it."

Adonis would not be denied. He still wanted to play sports, and still wanted to play football.

"Adonis kinda set me straight on that," said Veronica. "He said, 'hey mom, I can see. I can see with my hands. I can see with my ears. I can see, so why do you want to fix me?"

11 eye surgeries couldn't sideline Watt, and he is now an important part of the Brophy Prep freshman football team.

"It's just a great adrenaline rush, and I'm just ready to get the ball and do my job," said Watt, who is is part of the Broncos running back rotation. Ball carriers take a lot of hits, and it's a position that's scary enough, even when one can see.

Watt isn't scared, however, and it amazes his coaches.

"It just comes with the game," said Watt. "You signed up for it, you're gonna get hit"

"You're talking about a game that's physical, and people that are afraid to play with the concussions, the dangers, the impacts," said Brophy freshman football coach Scott Heideman. "So for me, it's always been really hard to wrap my head around how Adonis is so fearless to take and play this game like he does."

There are some limitations, however. Watt can usually be seen leaning on teammates for some guidance.

"Teammates mean a lot," said Watt. "You can't win this by yourself, no matter if you're the greatest player on the planet or whatever, you need 11 guys out there and I'm just happy to be a part of it."

Watt doesn't want any special treatment. He just wants to play.

"I look at it that he can picture what he sees, and he can imagine what those reps look like as he walks through it, and goes through is running back drills," said Heideman.

One of Watt's favorite players, Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson, is a player who was often underestimated before becoming an NFL star. Watt's dreams are just as big.

"I'm going to the NFL with this," said Watt.

And who's going to say he can't? He's gotten this far without vision, but sometimes the best traits: heart, determination, perseverance, are the ones you can't see.

"He represents young students, young athletes, anyone who wants to persevere and come across challenges in their life," said Veronica. "Plenty of athletes get injuries and they fight their way back, there's no reason why he shouldn't get the chance."

"It's fun to watch him do this," said Heideman. "Knowing what he's up against, man he's just fearless, I wanna be more like him when I'm around him, you know?"

"Adonis, he's about to do what he wants to do, about to do him, and he's about to go on with life," said Watt.

Watt recently scored two touchdowns in a Brophy win, and the coach says nobody is letting him do it. It's all been earned. It also doesn't stop at football for Watt, as he's been wrestling the last three years, and also ran track in the 6th and 7th grade.

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