Not A Dry Eye On The Slope
Alongside the keratoconus, which causes the cornea to bulge outwards, Steve had the additional problem of being extremely near sighted.
Dr Boxer Wachler, who has helped other athletes and also performed Laser Eye Surgery live on national television (more of this later), had developed an alternative treatment. By using a combination of vitamin and light applications he was able first to strengthen Steve’s cornea allowing the insertion of a special contact lens to further improve his sight.
This procedure was relatively new when it was performed on Steve in 2008 – but the results were immediate and the bobsleigh driver was soon back in the driving seat of his team sled, called “Night Train” … and winning prizes – first the World Bob Sled Championship in 2009 (a first for the U.S. in 50 years) and then the thrilling Vancouver Winter Olympic Gold.
I met Dr. Boxer Wachler in his Beverly Hills clinic just days after the Olympic celebrations and asked him how it felt to watch the man whose sight he had restored go on and win a gold medal?
Had the experience had been the highlight of his career to date?
After a moment’s thought, he answered that – although he had not previously considered it in that light – it probably had been.
“Yes, it was probably the most public, high profile highlight of my career”, he said.
“Steve’s story is really remarkable .I was there in Whistler at the sliding centre, when he won. I was bawling, there were tears streaming down my face as I hugged my wife and family.
I knew how much it meant to him. Despite an amazing career, he had been forced to retire as his sight deteriorated because he knew that, otherwise, he would be putting his team mates’ lives at risk.
“Being able to stage this comeback and go on to win a gold medal– the first American for 62 years in this sport – was amazing.
“To me, knowing his history and all that he had been through, it was an especially emotional time.”
You can read more about Steve Holcomb’s inspirational story at www.boxerwachler.com and there will be more from me from the City of Angels coming soon.
Image Source: boxerwachler.com