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Hockey’s youngest commentator covers games for one special fan: his blind dad.

What happens when vision loss changes the way we enjoy our favorite sport?

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As any sports fan knows, love of the game can run pretty deep.

There are player names to memorize, stats to learn, jerseys to collect, and of course, games to watch. For many families, loving a sport or a team brings them together. Parents and kids pile onto the couch or into the arena to watch games as a group.

Gerry Nelson has always enjoyed watching hockey. But things got a little trickier when blindness made it so he couldn't watch the game he loves.


Gerry wasn't always blind. But after years of ignoring his childhood diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, he lost his sight at age 25. "I lost my parents when I was very young, and I didn’t look after myself in my late-teens and 20s," Gerry said. "I didn't get the education I needed around how important health is when you're diabetic. But now I’ve turned it all around."

Losing his sight hasn't kept Gerry from living a full life. He's become an accomplished golfer. He also is an active father to his son, Wyatt, who is now 12 years old. "In reality," Gerry said, "he's more 12 going on 30."

Two things are forever true about Gerry and Wyatt Nelson's relationship. They've always been close, and they've always loved hockey.

Gerry Nelson and Wyatt Nelson-Zook in 2009. Image courtesy of Gerry Nelson, used with permission.

When Wyatt was 5 years old, they started attending hockey games together, mostly the local WHL team the Saskatoon Blades. Wyatt would watch the action on the ice, and Gerry would follow along listening to the live play-by-play broadcast on a local radio station.  

Their system worked perfectly — until the night they attended a preseason game the radio station wasn't covering. Gerry was happy to sit in the arena alongside his son, but Wyatt wanted to give him a better experience. So, he started narrating the action on the ice, emulating the play-by-play announcers hockey fans know so well. Through Wyatt's words, Gerry was able to see the action as well as he could have with sight.

From that night onward, Gerry hasn't needed his radio when he and Wyatt go to games together. Wyatt's play-by-play is enough.

“Sometimes when he is doing something with me I feel like I am taking him away from his time with his friends,” Gerry told an interviewer late last year. “But he says, ‘No, Dad, I love doing it and I want to do it.’”

Gerry and Wyatt's story started making waves in Canadian media last December. As it turned out, some folks in the NHL were following along.

Over the last year, they've had some incredible experiences thanks to hockey fans who've been inspired by their story. They've attended a Stanley Cup final game, gone to the NHL Player Awards in Las Vegas and met some of their heroes on and off the ice.

Wyatt even did play-by-play announcing for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals on a local radio station in St Louis. "He did 17 minutes of the first 20-minute period," Gerry said proudly. "The more and more he does, the better he gets at it."

By far the most emotional moment for the two came last spring when a news crew visiting Saskatoon brought a special surprise to the local arena for the Nelson boys.

Hidden in a distant room at the rink was hockey's greatest trophy: the Stanley Cup. It's a huge piece of hardware, standing nearly three-feet-high and weighing 34.5 pounds. For fans, it's especially magnificent.

Wyatt Nelson-Zook with the Stanley Cup. Image by Gerry Nelson, used with permission.

Gerry and Wyatt got to experience the cup in a way few people do — just the two of them.

"Growing up on the streets of North Battleford, our Stanley Cup was an aluminum garbage can," said Gerry. "All of a sudden, I was realizing that it was my son and I, alone — no one else in the room with the Stanley Cup. It was one of the most amazing feelings. I was able to put my hands on it, without 200 other people in the room at the same time. That’s when it really started to hit home and got pretty emotional for me."

All of these incredible moments, shared with the sport they love, haven't changed Gerry or Wyatt one bit.

Wyatt and Gerry hold the Stanley Cup. Image by Gerry Nelson, used with permission.

When the big moments are over and the Stanley Cup has been put back in its case, Gerry and Wyatt Nelson still have their remarkable connection — and the game that brought it to light.

"The perfect thing is the quality and type of relationship that Wyatt and I have," said Nelson. "It wouldn’t matter if it was a peewee game on the local outdoor rinks or the Saskatoon Blades or an NHL game in the big city. Nothing could make it better because I’m already spending this wonderful time hanging out with Wyatt, sharing our love of hockey. For him and me, the blindness doesn’t figure into it. Wyatt does what he does because Dad’s Dad and Dad can’t see."

As for all the kudos Wyatt has received for his play-by-play announcing skills, Gerry says he'll leave it up to his son to decide if that's something he wants to do. "So far Wyatt's [wanted to be] a baseball player and a hockey player and a firefighter. I know for me it took a lot of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and he's got a lot of time to figure things out," said Nelson. "I’ll support Wyatt in anything and everything he wants to do. If he opted to go that route, I would support him. After all, I'd get to go to a lot more NHL games!"

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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John Cena sets new world record with 650 wishes granted with the Make-A-Wish Foundation

He’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I'll drop everything."

The multitalented, mega famous John Cena might hold many titles, but this might be the coolest one yet—and it has nothing to do with wrestling.

The actor and WWE performer just broke the Guinness World Records for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As of July 19, Guinness World Records reports, Cena has granted a whopping 650 wishes. The highest amount any other celebrity granted was 200.

The 16-time world champion first became a wish-granter back in 2002. Since then, he’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I just drop everything. I don't care what I'm doing," he said in a WWE produced video after granting his 500th wish. “I can't say enough how cool it is to see the kids so happy, and their families so happy, I truly want to show them that it's their day.”
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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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