Apr 10, 2012

USABA Announces New Sponsor Vanda Pharmaceuticals and

USABA is proud to announce our newest sponsor Vanda Pharmaceuticals and which are conducting an awareness campaign for a sleep-wake disorder commonly experienced by people who are blind.  Like them on Facebook by clicking here, follow them on Twitter by clicking here and check out their website here

If you or know someone who is totally blind and suffers from irregular sleep patterns, we want to hear from you.  Vanda Pharmaceuticals is conducting a study that is evaluating an investigational treatment.  The study does not require any overnight stay in a lab and participants are compensated for their time and travel expenses. For more information on the clinical trials and to complete a survey to better understand the condition and determine if you may be eligible to participate, call 1-888-389-7033, Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit 

Inability to Maintain a Good Night’s Sleep May be a Sign of an Under-Recognized Circadian Disorder

More than 50 percent of individuals who are totally blind may suffer from an under-recognized condition which prevents them from maintaining a regular sleep pattern; impacting their health, lifestyle and relationships.

Known as Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24-Hour), the condition can push the timing of an individual’s body clock off the 24-hour clock, making them unable to maintain a regular schedule of sleep and wakefulness. Those with the condition may experience bouts of severe insomnia, sleep deprivation and excessive daytime sleepiness during the day, all on an irregular and rolling basis.

“Sometimes I fall asleep and stay asleep,” says Dan Roy, a Braille translator for Horizons for the Blind in Des Plaines, Illinois who is congenitally blind and has experienced recurring bouts of troubled sleep and daytime fatigue since childhood. “Other times I wake up after a few hours and can’t get back to sleep.” At work, Roy adds that he must “…try to fight through my sleepiness” in order to maintain productivity.

What is the Cause?

For individuals with no light perception, the lack of cues for daylight can cause the sleep cycle, one of many circadian biological rhythms, to be out of synch from the 24-hour clock, gradually shifting their body’s perception of when it is day versus when it is night over the course of weeks and months.  

Extensive research is underway to learn more about the cause and possible treatment of the condition. One organization, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, is conducting a series of nationwide clinical trials of people with total blindness. These studies continue to recruit eligible participants and Vanda has screened more than 1,400 individuals for potential participation to date. Recently reported results from one of the trials demonstrated the ability to reset the body clock and align it to a constant 24-hour day in people with Non-24-Hour who are totally blind.

What is the Impact?

For some totally blind individuals the condition can have significant impact on their social and occupational lives. “You can be in the middle of a sentence and fall asleep for 30 seconds or so just because your body needs that time so badly because it’s not sleeping at night,” says Mindy Jacobsen of Brooklyn, New York,  who lost total light perception 15 years ago and began experiencing symptoms of Non-24-Hour almost immediately. The unpredictability of Mindy’s sleep pattern forced her out of full time employment, though she now maintains several part time jobs.

What can I do if I have these Symptoms?

If you are experiencing an irregular sleep pattern you can reach out to your primary care physician and ask whether the symptoms are an indication of Non-24-Hour. They may recommend a referral to a sleep specialist for further information. Maintaining a sleep diary to include timing, duration and quality of sleep, as well as a record of consumption of caffeine, alcohol and other medications may help guide your conversations with a physician.

Totally blind individuals experiencing symptoms of Non-24-Hour may also be a candidate to participate in the clinical trials led by Vanda Pharmaceuticals. The studies are evaluating an investigational treatment and do not require any overnight stay in a lab and participants are compensated for their time and travel expenses. For more information on the clinical trials and to complete a survey to better understand the condition and determine if you may be eligible to participate, call 1-888-389-7033, Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit

Apr 06, 2012

April 10 is the Last Day to Provide Inputs for 2014-2017 IBSA Goalball Rulebook Revision

April 10, 2012 is the last day to provide inputs for the 2014-2017 Goalball Rulebook revision.   Complete information regarding the rule change process and a submission form are available here.

Mar 08, 2012

2012 USABA Goalball Season Kicks off with John Bakos/USABA Midwest Regional Tournament

A new tournament site, several new teams and all-star matches were among changes US goalball enthusiasts experienced this past weekend as the 2012 goalball season kicked off at the John Bakos/USABA Midwest Regional Goalball Tournament.

After many years at Kalamazoo, Michigan, the 28th edition of this tournament found a new home in Warren, Michigan and along with the change of venue, the tournament welcomed several US teams that participated for the first time or returning after an absence of several years:

California Cyclones
Michigan Striders
Ohio Bats
Rose City Thorns – Men
South Florida Rage
Tennessee Tornados

After a heated round of pool play, the initial field of 16 men’s teams, including three teams from Canada, narrowed down to 8 teams that would advance to the quarterfinal round:

Atlanta Force
British Columbia
California Earthquake
Michigan Wrecking Crew
New York Knights
Nova Scotia
Pennsylvania Venom

As the dust settled on the quarter final round, three very tough teams from Canada and an outstanding California Earthquake would advance to the semifinals to battle for the right to play for gold in the finals. 

In the first semifinal game against California, Nova Scotia took a 3-1 lead at halftime.  In the second half, California pushed back with a goal, but couldn’t clinch the win.  Final score 3-2, Nova Scotia.  The second semifinal paired Canadian rivals Quebec and British Columbia.  Fans in this gym witnessed another match equal in intensity and also ending in a 3-2 finish, this time with the victory going to British Columbia.  

It was all Canada in the men’s gold medal match with a young Nova Scotia team facing a seasoned British Columbia. Ninety seconds into the match, Brendan Gaulin would capitalize on a penalty shot to put British Columbia in the lead.  Nova Scotia would quickly bounce back to tie the game, but Brendan Gaulin would score again; the first half would end with 2-1 British Columbia lead.  In the second half, Brendan Gaulin would score the hat trick, sealing Nova Scotia’s fate.  British Columbia would take the gold medal with a 3-1 final score. 

The lone US hope for a men’s medal, California Earthquake would relinquish the bronze medal to Quebec who overtook California  7-3.  

The following women’s teams would emerge from pool play to the semifinal round:

Georgia Firebolts
Kalamazoo Kraze
New Jersey
Pool Team

In the first women’s semifinal match, the Georgia Firebolts, 2011 USA national championships women’s silver medalists, would face off against a team comprised of pool players Cathy Morgan, Tracey Sinkovic and Christy Ray.  Although the pool team played valiantly, the Firebolts would prevail with a 3-1 win.  In the other women’s semifinal pairing, the Kalamazoo Kraze would gain a 1-0 lead against New Jersey they would keep until the final buzzer.  They would later meet Georgia to play for the tournament championship. 

The women’s gold medal game was a nail-biter between the Georgia Firebolts and the Kalamazoo Kraze.  Neither team would concede a goal with regulation play ending with a tied 0-0 score.  Two minutes into the first overtime period, Leanne Merren would drive a ball down the line that would find its way into the goal and win her team the women’s gold medal.  Final score: Kalamazoo Kraze 1, Georgia Firebolts 0. 

The bronze medal match would be the Pool team versus New Jersey.  In another very tight game, the Pool team, playing together for their first time a this tournament would find a way to overtake New Jersey and win by a 2-1 margin.

The next tournament will be the 2012 ABANJ/USABA Northeast Regional Goalball Tournament to be held in Westmont, New Jersey, April 14 and 15.  The application deadline for teams is April 2.  For additional information regarding the tournament can be found on our events calendar.  


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