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A C h a m p i o n v i S i o n A r y p r o F e S S o r l i g h t S t h e w A y

with a curtain rod. Two surgeries and Coke-bottle thick eyeglasses tempo- rarily restored his sight, but nothing could be done when it slipped away again. It was 1966, and Mastro, 18, thought his athletic career had van- ished along with his vision.

Augsburg College. There, against his eye doctor’s wishes, he went out for wrestling. Mastro figured he had noth- ing to lose in trying.

Three years after failing to make the team as a freshman, he earned the con- ference championship.

Dropping sports for nearly two years while he studied braille, orientation, and mobility, he then enrolled at

“That first year was hell,” recalls Mastro, who smiles at the memory. The team captains refused to cut him any slack

Bemidji State University professor Dr. Jim Mastro had one goal in mind as he finished his junior year in high school. The shot putter had just com- peted in the Minnesota State High School track and field meet. The day had been cold and rainy, and no one had performed well. Mastro knew he could do better, perhaps finish his senior year as a top contender.

Instead, his dreams were dashed.

Born blind in his right eye, Mastro lost his vision in the other eye during a mishap as an 11-year-old. In a let’s- pretend sword fight, a neighbor boy inadvertently struck him in the left eye

“One of the things I want is for blind people to have the right to compete, the right to have as normal a life as possible.

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    be given that opportunity is very important.”

Dr. Jim Mastro


Bemidji State University

Horizons 20

Bemidji State University


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