Big swing: Visually impaired Spider golfer wants to ease others' pain

October 29, 2021

SPIDER PRIDE

First-year student Ty Cashman is known for combining two of his passions: sports and helping others.

“I want people with impairments and disabilities to have the same chances that everyone else does,” Cashman said.

Cashman has a degenerative eye condition where he currently has less than 5% vision in his left eye, and less than 40% vision in his right. In eighth grade, he was told he could no longer play baseball because of his condition.

“That's how I made a lot of my friends,” he said. “I still wanted to play a team sport, so I took up golf and I met a lot of my friends there.”

Since then, he’s taken up beep baseball, which uses a beeping ball and 3-foot-tall beeping bases, and blind golf, which uses a partner to line up the golfer to make the strokes. His current partner is his roommate, and they compete together in club golf through the University.

In the past few years, he has won two U.S. Blind Golf Association tournaments with his grandfather as his partner.

“They’re a lot of fun, and they bring people together who normally wouldn't have met because people come from all over the world to play,” Cashman said. “I feel it's important for people to keep playing these sports, because it shows that we can still do it — and excel at it.” 

Cashman’s interest in helping others extends beyond his condition. His inspiration comes from his mother, he said, who suffers from chronic pain. As a manager for his middle school’s basketball team, he started an annual fundraiser called Points for Pain, raising money to host retreats for kids who have chronic pain conditions and their families. Since then, he’s raised more than $150,000 and taken groups to Disney World, Morgan’s Wonderland, an accessible theme park in San Antonio, Texas, and Great Wolf Lodge. He also won the New York Yankees HOPE (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) award for his work, and threw out the first pitch at a Yankees game. 

“Chronic pain conditions are rare,” he said. “But those who deal with them can find a community through this. It’s great for them to talk, and it's just amazing having them all together. It really makes a difference for them.”