Brothers wrestle for UL despite legal blindness

CENTERVILLE – Logan and Jesse Amos are two young boys full of energy.

One day the pair told their parents – Billie and Joshua Amos – that they wanted to wrestle.

That was nothing out of the ordinary for two youngsters, however – both are legally blind.

“Their best friend (Caleb McWhorter) was going to wrestle, and they both said they wanted to join him,” their mother explained. “I said ‘yes.’ Anything they can feel included in and be normal, I’m all for it.”

Logan, 12 and in sixth grade, and Jesse, 9 and in fourth, were both diagnosed around kindergarten-age with Rod-Cone Dystrophy, according to their mother, which affects the rods and cones in the back of their eyes.

“Logan has less vision than Jesse,” their mother explained. “Logan has light sensitivity. He can only tell you if it is light or dark outside. He has no vision at all.

“Jesse has a little bit more vision, but he has peripheral vision,” she added. “He can see side-to-side, but not out of the center of his eye. He looks to the side to see shadows and such.”

According to their mother, both have mastered Braille and are enrolled in Union Local Schools where a visual impairment teacher (Mrs. Minnich) works with them during the day.

“Everyone from the school to the wrestling community at Union Local has been amazing with them,” their mother continued. “Everyone is really nice to them.”

Even though the boys had her blessings, their mother had her reservations.

“I had some fears at first and was very nervous,” she admitted. “Especially for Logan because Jesse is a lot more active. I was worried about Logan getting hurt because of his lack of vision, or how the other kids would react to the situation.

“Everyone has been amazing, even kids from other schools. It’s just been a wonderful experience for the boys.”

Logan and Jesse both like being able to compete.

“I like wrestling with other kids,” Logan said. “It’s fun.”

Jesse added, “I like it a lot, especially wrestling with the other kids.”

According to their mother, when each of her sons wrestles, there has to be contact at all times.

“They start palm-to-palm, one up and one down,” she explained. “The referee blows the whistle and they start wrestling. If they lose contact with one another, the referee will stop the match and start them over again.”

Neither Amos nor her husband are affected. They also have two younger sons, Forrest, 4, and Calvin, 2, who both wrestle. She said that Forrest had a good report last June and Calvin hasn’t been checked yet.

“Even though it’s a genetic thing, there is no history in my family or my husband’s family,” Billie stressed. “Basically, I’m a carrier and my husband is a carrier for the gene.”

She said there was a 25 percent chance that this could occur.

In addition to wrestling, the boys also compete in a summer baseball league in Morristown.

“It’s called Beep-Ball,” Billie said. “The ball beeps and so does the bases. The boys love it.”