WPVI-TV(WILMINGTON, Del.) — Nearly 17 years after being shot in the face, Dwayne Adams is finally free of the bullet that nearly killed him.
In 1998 he had been sitting on his mother’s porch when a stray bullet hit him. The bullet went through his left eye, across his face, and lodged below his right eye, knocking out his sense of smell and stopping just short of his brain. The vision in his left eye was gone and the bullet became stuck in a delicate part of his face.
“If they removed [the bullet] it might hurt some nerves and cause me to lose some vision,” Adams of Wilmington, Delaware, told ABC News Tuesday. The injury disrupted his life, but Adams said it unexpectedly spurred him to do the thing he always admired: rowing.
“Believe it or not, I never started rowing in my first race until nine months after my shooting,” Adams said, explaining how he always admired the sport during the Olympics. “I rowed three miles and fell in love with it and I just tried to get better.”
Adams realized that rowing was an ideal sport since he didn’t need good eyesight to take part.
“Your body has to work together to get that boat moving, and with my vision, there’s not a lot of other sports I can really play,” he told ABC News. “All in all, this is the perfect sport for me.”
In the years since the shooting, Adams even qualified for the U.S. rowing team for the disabled and said the injury spurred him to start the non-profit Breaking Barriers, which aims to introduce Delaware teens to rowing.
“Ninety-five percent of high school and college rowers graduate, so that’s a high percentage. If we can implement those [lessons learned from rowing] a lot of the violence and some of these other ailments will probably be decreased,” he said.
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