Deaf Player in Men’s Division I NCAA Basketball

Summarized by Hannah F. Mann, staff writer Michael Lizaragga stands out, and not just because he’s the only deaf player in Men’s Division 1 NCAA basketball. In fact, he’s one of the best players on the basketball team at California State University, Northridge; according to Bobby Braswell, CSUN’s head basketball coach, Michael’s personality and athletic skill is an inspiration to the team. Though Michael’s parents were stunned when they found out that their infant son was profoundly deaf, they quickly took it into stride. His father, a basketball coach, introduced Michael to sports at an early age and took him to several local sporting events, often acting as his interpreter. Under his father’s tutelage, Michael excelled in three different sports at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont and continued to pursue his passion for basketball into college. Largely due to his parents’ support, Michael has never allowed his deafness to become an excuse or a stumbling block; instead, he emphasizes that hearing status doesn’t matter—that we are all equal, and anything is possible. As Michael points out, “We’re all human.” Watch the full story at CSUN’s Youtube channel here (if the captions do not appear, click on the ‘cc’ icon at the bottom of the screen).

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