In the highly competitive world of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Adam Bahriz is one of the best, attaining Global Elite rank—the highest in the game—and an A+ rating in third-party league ESEA. Bahriz was also born with Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy (HSAN), leading to the loss of his sight and hearing. You can learn more about him in this week's episode of Totally Game, Future's documentary series that meets exceptional gamers. Check it out above.
HSAN is a rare condition that means Bahriz feels almost no pain. As well as causing sensory neural hearing loss, subconsciously scratching his face and eyes caused lacerations and severely damaged his corneas when he was a child. When he's injured, the receptors in his body don't send that information to his brain, so he's not aware of the damage.
"A lot of people may think this is cool—'oh wow, you don’t feel pain,'" he says. "But any small injury I get I will not know, and because I don't feel pain it will get progressively worse."
Gaming has always been part of Bahriz's life, and in 2017 he moved from Counter-Strike, which he'd been playing since 2012, to its successor. He uses a hearing aid and is able to make out enough of what's on the screen to play if he sits very close to the screen.
"If a person is standing still they would be difficult to see," he explains, "but that's why I need to develop a really good map awareness to be aware of the situation and be aware of what’s going on."
Bahriz developed his reaction time and hand-to-eye coordination over years of playing Counter-Strike and games outside, and uses no special equipment to play.
CS:GO has provided Bahriz with a competitive outlet and something he can focus on, and it's even helped him with his injuries. He recently underwent facial reconstruction surgery, after a fellow CS:GO player referred him to a surgeon.
"If I didn't play this game, I wouldn't have had facial reconstruction," he says. "They just contacted me through my Twitch channel and was like 'Hey I want to fix your face, I have a friend who can do it.' I had my cleft palate fixed, I had my nose fixed, all from CS:GO. It's crazy."
To see more of Bahriz's CS:GO skills, subscribe to his Twitch channel (opens in new tab).