Santa Speedo Sprint Results in Albany Man’s Blindness

By Cecily Bapp

Published December 18th, 2016

ALBANY — This year’s annual Santa Speedo Sprint fundraiser — during which Capital Region natives run a 5K while dressed scantily in Santa-themed costumes and swimwear — has been deemed responsible for at least one case of blindness among spectators.

After exhaustive tests and evaluations, Eric Von Spittoon of Albany was diagnosed with stress-induced blindness, a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that doctors believed was triggered by the Dec. 10 viewing of gleeful, overweight, out-of-shape and, in many cases, exceptionally hairy Capital Region natives running thunderously through Albany city streets — most wearing as little as a Speedo bathing suit and Santa hat.

Shock-induced blindness is no urban myth. Rather, it’s a real danger at events like the Santa Speedo Sprint, said Dr. Mahalo Michelobe, who treated Von Spittoon at Ellis Hospital’s Trauma Center.

“Emotional trauma, like the sight of too much bloated hairy skin, can cause blood pressure to surge, precipitating a fluid leak in the capillaries behind the retina,” Dr. Mahalo explained. “The result? Temporary blindness. Sensitive individuals, particularly those new to the Capital Region, should steer clear of these kinds of events. Or, at the very least, they should refrain from first glance until they’re drunk enough to soften the blow.”

Though temporary, the condition is nonetheless a very real hazard at events like the Santa Speedo Sprint. As such, event organizers are advised to incrementally reveal participants to new spectators.

Meanwhile, advisors from the state Health Department say spectators should wear dark protective sunglasses, dense protective netting over their eyes and face as a mask from participant hairiness, and employ the ‘glance-and-look-away technique’ when viewing this event in the future.


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