John Kusku, a 2007 graduate of Western Michigan University will compete in the  Paralympic Games Sept. 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro.

Bruno Miani of Inovafoto, courtesy of CBDV. Used by permission.
 Kusku, of Commerce Township, was born with a hereditary degenerative retinal disease and is legally blind, with less than one degree of vision left in each eye. He was introduced to goalball at a sports camp at WMU at a young age. He stayed with it and  continued to develop his skill in the sport throughout high school and college.

Kusku went on to become a member of several medal-winning teams, including the silver medal team at the 2015 ParaPan American Games, the bronze medal team at the 2014 World Goalball Championships, and the silver medal team at the 2011 ParaPan American Games.

Kusku is married and a father and teaches high school math and physics. His wife, Jessica, coaches his team, Michigan Omega.

In a WMU release, Kusku says

"I think my experiences at the 2011 ParaPan Games in Mexico and 2015 in Canada will be similar to our experience in Rio," Kusku is quoted as saying in an article on the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes website. "The ParaPan Am Games are run just like the Paralympics, just on a smaller scale. I'm excited about the large number of athletes from all over the world, living and eating together in the Athlete Village, hanging out with my teammates for three weeks, and watching the Paralympic competition.

Goalball is an action-packed sport is similar to hockey or soccer and played exclusively by visually impaired or blindfolded players using a bell-filled ball. Players defend their own goal by carefully listening for the ball and, after successfully blocking it, try to throw it into the opponent's goal, with the ball traveling upwards of 40 mph. The game was developed in Eastern Europe following World War II and was brought to the United States in the 1970s.
(Source: WMU press release)