Winning on the wrestling mat has become a way of life for a high school freshman in Maine, despite debilitating vision disorders.Something as routine as playing video games becomes a lesson in persistence for Derek Cote.”My eyes shake rapidly back and forth. I can’t control it. What that does, it gives me zero depth perception and makes me pretty sensitive to light, very sensitive. With the achromatosia, takes away some of how far I can see,” Derek said.Raised in an athletic household, Cote’s parents looked for a sport for their son to play.”Wrestling has given him the ability to go out and try things that he normally he wouldn’t try. I think this sport has given him the confidence to do anything,” Cote’s father, Bryan Cote, said.The wrestling room has turned into a safe place for Cote.”School, it stresses me out a lot of times, because everything is harder for me than it is for any person. I just like, stress, and then I come here and relieve it, and I can come here and do what I love to do,” Derek said.Cote’s visual impairment has led to the dependence on another sense that has become his ally on the mat.”You grab a hold of him, his hand strength is immense, so you know he’s gotten used to that needing to grab, feel,” Derek’s coach, Kevin Gray said.Derek’s story is one he is secure in telling and hopes it can lead other visually impaired children down a similar path.”I think that anybody with any impairment should try wrestling. They think that they are going to get judged a lot, but I have learned through experience it’s less of people judging you and more of you judging yourself,” Derek said.Derek won the south region wrestling championship last weekend and has a shot at winning a state title.Related video: Wrestler gives back after cancer fight

Winning on the wrestling mat has become a way of life for a high school freshman in Maine, despite debilitating vision disorders.

Something as routine as playing video games becomes a lesson in persistence for Derek Cote.

“My eyes shake rapidly back and forth. I can’t control it. What that does, it gives me zero depth perception and makes me pretty sensitive to light, very sensitive. With the achromatosia, takes away some of how far I can see,” Derek said.

Raised in an athletic household, Cote’s parents looked for a sport for their son to play.

“Wrestling has given him the ability to go out and try things that he normally he wouldn’t try. I think this sport has given him the confidence to do anything,” Cote’s father, Bryan Cote, said.

The wrestling room has turned into a safe place for Cote.

“School, it stresses me out a lot of times, because everything is harder for me than it is for any person. I just like, stress, and then I come here and relieve it, and I can come here and do what I love to do,” Derek said.

Cote’s visual impairment has led to the dependence on another sense that has become his ally on the mat.

“You grab a hold of him, his hand strength is immense, so you know he’s gotten used to that needing to grab, feel,” Derek’s coach, Kevin Gray said.

Derek’s story is one he is secure in telling and hopes it can lead other visually impaired children down a similar path.

“I think that anybody with any impairment should try wrestling. They think that they are going to get judged a lot, but I have learned through experience it’s less of people judging you and more of you judging yourself,” Derek said.

Derek won the south region wrestling championship last weekend and has a shot at winning a state title.

Related video: Wrestler gives back after cancer fight

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