Please take a moment and help us congratulate Belle Wurmser as Liberty Sport’s August Advocate of the Month.
Belle has struggled with her vision but has overcome obstacles both on and off the court. Please take a moment and read the informative testimonial from Belle’s mother below…
Isabelle (Belle) Wurmser is 7 years old and is from Brick Township, NJ. Belle plays both Ice and Roller (Inline) hockey and wears Rec Specs when she plays sports. Around her 4th birthday, Belle was diagnosed with Anisometropic Amblyopia as well as Hyperopia (farsightness). She wears prescription lenses full time and practices occlusion therapy — that’s a fancy way of saying she wears an eye patch every day to correct her amblyopia (lazy eye)
The type of amblyopia that Belle has is caused by an unequal prescription between her eyes. Her good eye does all the work and her brain shuts down her lower vision eye (in her case the left eye which is farsighted). Belle wears an eyepatch and glasses to help to train her brain to use her weaker eye. Essentially the patch forces her to use it because it covers her good eye – she is currently patching up to 4 hours a day. When Belle isn’t patching she is a very active little girl who likes to ride her bike and skate – she loves to ice skate, roller skate, and inline skate. She loves to go fast and is a bit of a daredevil.
Belle learned how to ice skate when she was 4 and not long after she could balance on her skates she asked if she could have a hockey stick. As an added benefit, we have found that hockey is ‘real time’ vision therapy for her. Hockey not only exercises her body but her eyes too.The sport is very fast paced with so much to pay attention to as well as skate at the same time.
When asked why she likes to play hockey, she says it is because she likes to skate and she wants to “beat the boys”. During her offseason for ice hockey, Belle plays Roller (Inline) Hockey at GoodSports USA, in Wall NJ under the coaching direction of Brucie Juska. Belle says she likes ice hockey better than roller hockey because she can skate faster on the ice. Belle played ice hockey for 3 years with the Brick Stars Challenger ice hockey program, a special needs hockey program in Brick NJ under the coaching direction of Alex DePalma. To keep her on the ice as much possible, Belle has also participated in girls hockey clinics and in-house programs run by local rinks. In the fall 2012, Belle is excited that she will be a part of the Brick Hockey Club’s Mite Development team skating out of the Ocean Ice Palace in Brick Township, NJ.
Hockey is an extremely physical sport and, as her mom, I was super nervous about her playing and possibly getting hurt. The players do wear a ton of protective padding on their bodies as well as a helmet with a full-face cage on it – it is requirement. At first Belle played just using a back-up pair of glasses that had polycarbonate (shatterproof) lenses. But as she got more into the physical aspect of the game she needed more eye protection than that. She used to complain about how the helmet fit with her glasses… it was uncomfortable. Her glasses slipped, and they also fogged up frequently. It got to the point where she would try to play without her glasses on – and then she could not see which was even more dangerous. It was then that we got her Rec Specs. We took her helmet with us to the optical shop and she tried on a few pair of Rec Specs under her helmet to make sure it was comfortable and fit securely.
Belle has the red Rec Specs and the best thing about them is that they do not slide and they stay in place thanks to the headstrap on the back of them. Her Rec Specs don’t impede her vision and work well with the full-face helmet cage. She loves her Rec Specs and especially celebrates that they are red and black – in the colors of her favorite NHL team, the New Jersey Devils. Belle’s favorite NHL players are Ilya Kovalchuk and goalie Martin Brodeur.
To learn more about amblyopia, check out this website at www.amblyopiakids.com