Deafblind Paralympic swimmer Becca Meyers quits because she can’t bring mom to Tokyo as her caregiver

Becca Meyers, 26, won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games and has won a total of six Olympic medals. She has Usher syndrome and is deaf and partially blind. She withdrew from the Games on Tuesday because she is too afraid to travel without her own carer

A deaf and blind Paralympic athlete has left Team USA after being told she would not be allowed to bring her mother to the Tokyo Games as her healthcare assistant and would instead have to use the same assistant as 33 other athletes due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Becca Meyers, 26, won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games and has won a total of six Olympic medals.

She has Usher syndrome and is deaf and partially blind.

Normally her mother Maria travels with her and is her personal care assistant, but this year, due to the limited number of people allowed in each delegation due to COVID-19, Becca has been told to share a care assistant.

Several Team USA members have already been forced to withdraw from the Games after testing positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. There are now fears that the event will be canceled altogether.

Team USA says it will only allow “operational essential personnel with roles related to the overall execution of the games” to attend the Games, and Becca’s mother is not counting. The Paralympic Games are scheduled for August 24.

Meyers is now withdrawing, describing the restrictions as unfair and saying it puts her at risk.

She says she agrees with the COVID-19 restrictions, but that her mother should count as an essential staff member.

It is unclear exactly how many people each delegation is allowed to bring, but spectators are not allowed. Simone Biles’ mother previously shared her frustration with the rule, saying that people in the arena could safely practice social distancing and wear masks.

Meyers, prescribing USA today on Tuesday, said her mother counts as an essential worker and that it is unsafe and unrealistic to force her and other athletes to rely on and share just one healthcare assistant.

Normally, Becca's mother Maria travels with her and is her personal healthcare assistant, but this year, due to the limited number of people allowed in each delegation due to COVID-19, Becca has been told to share a healthcare assistant.  They are shown with her guide dog

Normally, Becca’s mother Maria travels with her and is her personal healthcare assistant, but this year, due to the limited number of people allowed in each delegation due to COVID-19, Becca has been told to share a healthcare assistant. They are shown with her guide dog

Becca withdraws from the Tokyo Games because she claims not having her own trusted caretaker puts her at risk.  She posted a statement on Instagram announcing her withdrawal, but also wrote an op-ed for USA Today

Becca withdraws from the Tokyo Games because she claims not having her own trusted caretaker puts her at risk. She posted a statement on Instagram announcing her withdrawal, but also wrote an op-ed for USA Today

‘What happens if there is a calamity in the middle of the night? What if we need to be moved from one location to another quickly?

“Masks and distancing have made it incredibly difficult for me to discern what people are doing or saying. If I don’t have someone to trust, how can I trust I’ll be safe?’ Meijers wrote.

“With health and safety paramount at this year’s Games — rightly so — the USOPC has denied my request based on COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Japanese government. This just isn’t right.

“I am convinced that the staff reduction was not intended to reduce the number of essential support staff for Paralympics, such as PCAs, but to reduce the number of non-essential staff.”

Other blind or visually impaired swimmers on Team USA’s Paralympic team include Anatasia Pagonis, Gia Pergolini, Colleen Young.

Both Pagonis and Pergolini posted on social media that they are “behind” Meyers, but neither has backed down.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement: “The Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, at the direction of the Government of Japan, will not permit personnel other than essential operational personnel with roles related to the overall performance. of the games, into the country.

Becca can be seen at the Paralympic Swimming Trials in June in Minneapolis.  She is one of many blind or partially sighted swimmers on the team, but is the only one who has lost weight so far

Becca can be seen at the Paralympic Swimming Trials in June in Minneapolis. She is one of many blind or partially sighted swimmers on the team, but is the only one who has lost weight so far

Anastasia Pagonis, another visually impaired swimmer on the team, and Gia Pergolini, say they support Becca but haven't backed down yet

Gia Pergolini

Anastasia Pagonis, another visually impaired swimmer on the team, and Gia Pergolini, say they support Becca but haven’t backed down yet

“This position has led some athletes to advise us not to accept a nomination for Team USA for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We are devastated that athletes have to make painful decisions about whether or not to compete when they are unable to get their typical support resources at a major international competition, but our top priority is to ensure the safety of our athletes, coaches, staff and the citizens of the host country.’

In her op-ed, Meyers wrote, “I have to stand up for the next athlete who is deafblind or otherwise disabled. As Paralympians, we train just as hard as our Olympian counterparts.

Becca with her guide dog.  She says she's too scared to go to the Games without her trusted healthcare assistant

Becca with her guide dog. She says she’s too scared to go to the Games without her trusted healthcare assistant

“We deserve the same quality and safety nets that our able-bodied teammates will receive in a few days. ‘

She said she couldn’t find the dining room during previous matches, so she got hungry and was reduced to a “ball of fear.”

Her mother Maria told The Washington Post she was too scared to go to Tokyo without her.

“She gave her whole life for this. It is unacceptable. It’s heartbreaking.

‘She’s terrified to go’ [alone]. And I mean terrified — like, curled up in a ball, trembling,” she said.

Meyers said the stress of the situation had affected her training.

‘I have not slept. I’m so stressed. My training started to suffer from this situation and I just haven’t been able to be the best I can be. I know I can be the best I can be with the resources I need. It has worked for the past four years.”

Her parents say they have been working with Team USA since February to try to ensure Maria could attend the Games, but no preparations were made to get there.

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