Senior Spotlight: Full Speed Ahead for Shepherd’s Patrick Judge
MISportsNow is putting the spotlight on northern Michigan high school senior student-athletes who had their seasons cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Shepherd senior multi-sport athlete Patrick Judge is living proof that through hard work and determination, you can achieve anything.
While in eighth grade, Judge was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a genetic eye disorder that leads to progressive vision loss and affects the macula, an area of the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision. The disease, which is a form of macular degeneration, affects both eyes and can also cause troubles reading and color perception changes.
“You think of all the things that he won’t be able to do, and what you don’t think about is all the really cool things that he can do,” said Joe Judge, Patrick’s father.
As a member of Shepherd’s track and field and soccer programs, Judge has persevered and excelled.
“In sports with balls like basketball, that became really hard for me, like depth perception and everything. Soccer, I’ve been playing since then and I think I got good at that with my vision,” Judge said.
“He’s going through things that others aren’t. He’s overcoming stuff that they don’t even have to think about,” added Shepherd boys track and field coach Rick Cahoon. “The thing that sets Patrick apart is not only how he works in the season, but his offseason training. You know, every opportunity that there is that he could do something to make himself better, he took it.”
Judge’s work in the long jump ranks him sixth in school history and he’s a member of the relay team that broke Shepherd’s 4×200 relay record.
Judge has also worked with Central Michigan University’s long jump coach, and his hard work has paid off as he’ll join CMU’s program in the fall as a walk-on.
“I just hope to get better in college and I think maybe one day, I want to go to the Paralympics,” Judge said. “I went to a conference for visually impaired people and I met Paralympian. It was really cool to meet him and I think to be that and to go to conferences and talk to people like one day would be awesome.”
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