Showing Deaf Players They Fit In, Too

Summarized by Caitlin Aurigemma, staff writer

As Derrick Coleman, fullback for the Seattle Seahawks, is fielded with questions during the Super Bowl media day, most questions concerning his hearing loss, reporter Juliet Macur says that again and again Coleman answers, “If you really want something, you find a way to make it happen.”

As Macur reports, Coleman does not believe those with hearing loss should ever make an excuse to why they are not able to go and accomplish their goals. For Coleman, a positive attitude and an ability to see beyond his hearing loss is what lead him to living his dreams of being a professional football player.

As the first professional football player to make it all the way to the Super Bowl, Coleman has quickly become a role model for those within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. One such admirer that is looking forward to watching Coleman play in the Super Bowl is Adham Talaat, the current defensive lineman at Gallaudet University who like Coleman, is also deaf. “Before Derrick Coleman, where did we have a deaf role model like that?,” asks Talaat. Who do we have to look up to, in terms of athletics, in terms of professional sports?” (Macur, New York Times).

For people such as Talaat, players such as Coleman show how those who don’t necessarily fit the traditionally held definition of a football player can break the mold through perseverance and through the patience of his teammates and Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll. With Coleman’s success, Talaat hopes that players like himself will also have the chance to live their dreams of becoming a professional athlete despite the challenges they face due to hearing loss.

For Talaat, the parallels between Coleman and himself bring hope to him as he prepares for training at the TEST Parisi Football Academy in central New Jersey in preparation for the N.F.L. draft. As he tells Macur, “He wants—he expects—to be judged on ability alone, on what he can do, no what he can’t” (Macur, NYT).

Read the full story here.

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