May 20, 2024

“Vision Is Better Than Sight”

Beacon Stories

Isaiah Bingham is the first legally blind football player in Delaware. At just 14 years old, he’s excelling as a team captain and award-winning athlete and is inspiring others as he advocates for those with disabilities.

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Isaiah Bingham wearing his Red Lion uniform running on the football field.

14-year-old Isaiah Bingham has a calm and laid-back personality, that is, until he’s on the football field. And by watching him play, you would never know that he was diagnosed with a visual impairment at only two months old.

Isaiah was born with bilateral optic nerve coloboma, a congenital eye abnormality in which the optic nerve is not completely formed. His mom, Dionne, is a nurse, so she immediately noticed that something seemed off with Isaiah’s eyes.

Once he received his diagnosis, Isaiah’s parents, Dionne and Bernard, let him try whatever he was interested in, which, from an early age, was sports. Isaiah started to play baseball and basketball at only four years old. However, when Isaiah first showed interest in football in 2020, Dionne initially didn’t want him to play, worrying about his safety. But his dad Bernard played football growing up and knew the positive impact it had on his life, and after Isaiah continuously told him how much he wanted to play, he went ahead and signed him up to try out for the local youth football league.

After competing in a combine, he was the second player chosen for the team. It wasn’t until Isaiah was picked that the coaches were told he is legally blind.

Isaiah smiling wearing a black Red Lion polo.

“I think his coaches were scared to put him in at first,” Bernard recalls. “But he proved them wrong once he started playing more, and he’s been strong ever since. He’s very humble, and he’s come a long way from where he started. Football is his gift.”

In his first season, Isaiah led his team in tackles for most sacks and forced fumbles, and he was named one of the team captains. Isaiah’s coach also awarded him the character award for the season. Now, Isaiah holds the title of the first legally blind football player in Delaware.

“If I had let my fear of Isaiah playing football get in the way, then the world wouldn’t be able to see how great he is,” says Dionne. “He doesn’t let his vision stop him from being dominant on the field, and he inspires so many other people.”

Isaiah describes his current vision as “tunnel vision,” which to him means he can see right in front of him, but not in his periphery. Isaiah plays guard on offense, and he plays defensive end and nose guard on defense. With these positions, Isaiah explains that because he’s right on top of the football, he can see when the ball is snapped.

Isaiah wearing his Red Lion #5 uniform with his dad Bernard next to him on the football field.

Through football, Isaiah has also made new friends who feel like brothers, and he’s gained so much confidence.

“I love football because it’s fun and competitive,” says Isaiah. “It gives me a chance to get out my frustration and takes my mind off of things.”

Isaiah has created his own life motto, “Vision is better than sight.” He wants to use his voice to raise awareness and make a difference for others, and he’s certainly doing just that. He’s been on the cover of Scholastic News Magazine twice and was named Athlete of the Month by Support Adaptive Sports. Isaiah has also started his own apparel line brand called “Vision,” and is writing a book called, “The Way I See It.”

“I want to encourage other kids with disabilities to know that anything is possible,” says Isaiah. “Your disability shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want. Always at least give it a try.”


For the latest on Isaiah’s journey, follow him on FacebookTwitter/X, and Instagram.