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Polk County boy competes in American Ninja Warrior Junior despite being blind in one eye

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 29, 2021

AUBURNDALE, Fla. — His strength, speed and agility have allowed 12-year-old Bray Weinacker of Auburndale to make it all the way to the American Ninja Warrior Junior quarterfinals.

“You can do anything you want if you just put dedication and time into it,” said Bray.

Hand-eye coordination is important to successfully complete a ninja obstacle course and Bray accomplished that goal while being blind in one eye.

“Depth perception is hard, like catching bars, flying long distances but the hardest things are little, tiny details you have to hook on both sides,” Bray said.

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At just five years old, he lost his vision in his right eye when he was hit with a bungee cord while at a friend’s house.

“His eye was black and he looked at me and said 'mommy I can’t see I'm blind,'” said Sonja Scheffler Weinacker.

Bray underwent several surgeries, which involved putting in an artificial lens and gluing his eyelid back together. It took him three years to learn how to run and catch a ball again.

“As a mother, I'm grateful because they said the impact that the bungee cord hit him with directly in the eyeball, was enough to have either killed him or given him brain damage,” Weinacker said.

The seventh-grader hopes being on American Ninja Warrior Junior will inspire other kids to keep their eye on the prize.

“The only limitations you have are limitations you give yourself,” Bray said.

Bray is featured on American Ninja Warrior Junior season three, episode four. You can watch it on the Peacock streaming service.