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Overcoming physical handicaps in 'Magic: The Gathering'

"Magic: The Gathering" is primarily a mental sport. Playing it doesn't require the muscles or dexterity needed in football, basketball, or figure skating. After a recent personal accident left this author unable to hold a hand of "Magic" cards, never mind shuffle a deck, he began to rethink several physical aspects of the game which the vast majority of players take for granted.

The DCI guidelines generously allow someone to assist handicapped competitors. Over the past two decades this player has encountered some extraordinary people whose love of the game didn't let their physical limitations prohibit them from enjoying their favorite pastime. There's no doubt you've witnessed a few for yourself.

Perhaps the most outstanding story of dedication to the game we've come across was a player at the New England Regionals (have you been playing long enough to remember when that was a thing?) who was blind. Yes, blind. He had lost his sight in an accident while serving overseas. In order to keep playing "Magic" his wife had managed to braille the inside face of each plastic sleeve holding his cards with the name of what card it was. Can you imagine how hard it must be for someone who can't see to memorize all of the newest cards from the latest set? And then discover interactions and create their own decks? This author writes about the game for a living and still doesn't come close to achieving this astonishing feat.

Even those with severe handicaps preventing them from attending tournaments in person need not despair. One invaluable tool for such individuals is "Magic Online". There are devices which allow crippled people to interact with computers, (think Steven Hawking) and the Able Gamers Foundation is an organization that gives grants to qualified people so they can gain access to the specialized equipment needed to continue playing their favorite games.

As equally outstanding as the players who overcome their physical handicaps is the love, caring, and devotion by the significant others' family members and friends who help make it possible for these players to enjoy "Magic: The Gathering".

Have you or someone you know had to overcome a significant obstacle or challenge to play "Magic: The Gathering" We'd love to hear your story. Please leave a comment or send an email to We may even feature you (with your permission, of course).

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