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Women's basketball: Coach, player develop bond at school for deaf

By Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch
summarized by Alyssa Smith, staff writer

Losses can be challenging for both coaches and players. One player, Amy Bachtel, knows just how challenging those losses can be. For seven games, Bachtel sat on the bench. However, in her last regular-season home game for the Gallaudet University women’s basketball team, senior Bachtel notched 11 points in 34 minutes of play in a 69-50 win over Penn-State Berks. Gallaudet, located in Washington D.C., is a university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Bachtel says that she got emotional when she realized she would be putting on her uniform and seeing the cheerleaders sign the national anthem for the last time.

Stephanie Stevens, who coaches at Gallaudet University but is hearing, learned American Sign Language in order to better communicate with her brother, Mark who has Down syndrome. Stevens developed an affinity for ASL and knew that she wanted to somehow incorporate it into her career. Stevens got that chance two years ago when she became a graduate assistant at Gallaudet. In June, she began coaching the women’s basketball team.

After meeting Mark at a practice, the team fell in love with Stevens’s 14-year-old brother. They taught him signs that his sister often uses during games. While the losing streak was tough to handle, Stevens counted on Mark for perspective. Both women are grateful to Gallaudet University. Bachtel credits her experiences there for shaping her into the person she is today. Stevens, too is appreciative of Gallaudet for the opportunity to have her “dream job.”

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