• 57°

Troha headed to China

The Selma Times-Journal

Taylor Troha wants to be a champion for athletes with disabilities.

Before that happens, though, she will get to see firsthand how world-class Paralympians train to compete at the highest level.

Troha, 17, was one of two Alabama high school student-athletes chosen to attend the Paralympic Academy September 5-11 in Beijing.

Troha was born with cataracts and glaucoma and lost her sight at age 8. She has had 50 surgeries &8212; soon to be 51 &8212; to correct her vision and various other ailments caused by birth defects.

Sports has become her means to adapt to the world and secure a future for herself. Her goal is to compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games in track and field or goalball.

She also plans to attend the University of Montevallo and major in kinesiology.

Troha attends the Alabama School for the Blind in Talladega, but was chosen for the Paralympic Academy through the Lakeshore Foundation.

Located in Homewood, the Lakeshore Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with physical disabilities through fitness, recreation and athletics. It offers programs for children and adults with all types of disabilities.

Pam Green, Troha&8217;s mother, said one of the hardest things is being away from her daughter. But the independence her daughter is developing is an added source of comfort. Green said she and her husband wanted to give their budding athlete ample opportunity to succeed.

Troha concedes she is probably a better track athlete, but she has taken a special liking to goalball. The game was developed specifically for the visually impaired and was originally intended to help World War II veterans rehabilitate. It was introduced at the 1976 Paralympic games in Toronto.

A mixture of soccer and hockey, the object of the game is to roll the ball into an opponent&8217;s goal while opposing players try to block the goal with their bodies.

Because the players depend so much on their hearing, complete silence is required from the crowd.

Green described her daughter as &8220;tough,&8221; but that probably has a lot to do with her support system.