Visually impaired archer competing in Warrior Games breaks record

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 19:54:28-04

The archery competition took center stage at the Warrior Games Thursday.

As arrows flew and crowds cheered, retired Air Force Senior Airman Brett Campfield got ready to draw his bow. 
Except, being in the visually impaired category means, he must wear a blindfold to shoot.

"I’ve outright lost my right eye therefore I’m in that category," Campfield added. 

By feeling the bow, he knows when he’s in position.
But to see, he relies on his coach – there to tell him exactly what to do.

"What my coach does is once I feel that screw on the back of my hand and I’m fully pulled back, the coach tells me to tilt left, to tilt right," Campfield explained, "and right when he says good, I release instantly."

It’s a bond built out of trust and made stronger through communication.

"It was him and I out there," Campfield proudly noted. "It wasn’t just me and that felt really rewarding."

This year, a new rule, allowing him to compete alongside the rest of the athletes.

"Our intent was to integrate to allow them to feel the entire atmosphere as if they were just a part of, just another athlete as opposed to being segregated in any manner," said competition manager M.J. Rogers.

Before the new rules, there used to be just one round of shooting for V.I. athletes.
Now, athletes in the V.I. category compete in two rounds, shooting three arrows ten times with targets about 20 yards away.

During Campfield’s first round, he surpassed last year’s score.

Even though he walked in with the goal of not missing the target, he walked out with the gold. 

"I did break the record for visual impairment archery," said Campfield.

On Thursday, Campfield was the only athlete in his category and with the new rules, his combined score of 300 points is now the first of its kind.

But he still worked hard to set the bar high and hopes others with a visual disability can see there’s nothing stopping them from being a part of this sport.

"That record’s going to be there for somebody else to be back and beat it," Campfield said.
"And I hope they do."