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Partially Blind Triathlete Sues Over Blackout Glasses Requirement

A legally blind athlete is suing three triathlon groups over a rule that makes him and other vision-impaired runners wear blackout glasses.

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A legally blind athlete is suing three triathlon groups over a rule that makes him and other vision-impaired runners wear blackout glasses — leaving them temporarily sightless — in a controversial effort to “level the playing field.”

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by Aaron Scheidies, a 30-year-old athlete. Scheidies says the rule violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Having a legally blind person compete in the running portion of a triathlon with blackout glasses “poses substantial danger to not only the competitor but those around them,” the complaint says.

“It is illegal to require Aaron to wear blackout glasses that no able-bodied person would have to wear as a condition of receiving reasonable accommodation in a triathlon,” said Richard Bernstein, Scheidies’ lawyer.

The complaint names USA Triathlon and The International Triathlon Union, both governing bodies for triathlons, and 3-D Racing, an organizer and sponsor.

The glasses, which thrust wearers into darkness, have been required for sight-challenged athletes running in triathlons overseen by the defendants since 2010, according to Bernstein.

“USA Triathlon is discriminating against legally blind competitors, stripping them of their dignity and depriving them of their ability to participate in the athletic activity they love,” says Bernstein, who has been blind since birth.

Read more: Cnn.com