Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

April 19, 2013

Blind boarder hopes to be inspiration

TRAVERSE CITY — In a matter of weeks, everything changed for Nick Mullins.

An on-the-rise professional skateboarder one minute. In a coma, the next.

Now, he's totally blind in one eye and 90 percent in the other.

And he's cool with that.

"I didn't get to have my chance with all the fame and glory, which I don't really mind," the 21-year-old said. "I was just doing it for the fun. It was something I just did. A lot of the kids I meet nowadays, they have the same mentality I did. Those kids are the kids I'd like to highlight and get them known, because they deserve it.

"I've seen kids watch me at the skate park and go, 'Wow, that guy is good. And he can't even see.' And I get glimpses of kids seeing me throw down a bit. And then these kids would try to throw down just as hard as I was."

The Ohio native and Traverse City resident will speak about his experiences Saturday as part of Springenfesten at Right Brain Brewery. The discussion is presented by the Northern Michigan Disability Network and the local story-telling group Weathered Beard.

"I just really would like to push people to keep going," Mullins said. "I wasn't supposed to live. I see a reason to keep going. And I really would like to see other people keep going."

Mullins still skates as much as he can, even with his vision limitations.

"He doesn't just skate," said Lifer Skateboard Shop owner Billy Wood. "He really actually rips pretty hard. Everyone is amazed by what he does and what he can still do."

Wood knew of Mullins even before he moved to Traverse City. A skater website — www.theberrics.com — featured Mullins' videos, and after a MRSA incident started a campaign to raise funds for his medical bills.

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