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Despite hearing loss, Emerson wrestler headed to state championships

By Dan Ivers
summarized by Alyssa Smith, staff writer

Robbie Maggiulli, a junior from Emerson Senior High School, was born with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss as well as conductive hearing loss. Consequently, he is rarely without a hearing aid. However, while some may think his hearing loss is a disadvantage, Maggiulli believes it actually gives him an edge by blocking out the noise and distractions at wrestling meets. He has a 35-4 record despite often wrestling opponents weighing as much as 25 pounds more than he does. When he was younger, Maggiulli, in addition to wrestling, played football, soccer, and baseball, and he never let his hearing loss get in the way. However, as Maggiulli entered junior high, he faced more obstacles because of his hearing loss. As the dynamics of those sports became more complex, Maggiulli tried to keep up with the faster pace. Soon, he was forced to give up football because of the increased potential for injury.

Sports had always been a “sanctuary” for Maggiulli and often times “his only source of socialization.” He decided to focus his energy on wrestling. His hard work has brought him success as well as a sense of pride. Stan Woods, Maggiulli’s wrestling coach, describes him as “very positive.” Because he cannot hear when he is wrestling, Maggiulli faces his coaches at practice while they give instructions and asks the officials to tell him when each round is over. Maggiulli has never let his hearing loss stop him; instead, he just works that much harder to achieve success.

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