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Deaf athletes inspired by Super Bowl athlete
Rochester, N.Y. -- When they told him it couldn't be done, Derrick Coleman says he didn't listen. After all, the N-F-L defensive player has been deaf singe age three.
Now he's in the Super Bowl and inspiring local athletes with his abilities on the field and in real life. "You can keep a positive attitude and not let your deafness get in the way," said Scott Farrell.
Six days a week you'll find Farrell under water- in the pool at R.I.T. It's taught him a lot about life. "Deaf athletes can be competitive at that level if they're on a level playing field. You face challenges in the beginning," said Farrell. "You have to build confidence in yourself."
This college senior finds he has much in common with the Seattle Seahawks player whose life story he did not know until this week. He learned more in an on line video called "Trust the Power Within" made by Duracell and featuring Coleman's story.
"I was picked on and picked last. Coaches didn't know how to talk to me," says Coleman in the video as images of a child with hearing aids flash on the screen.
A different sport, yet similar story for Skip Flannigan. "I try to make the best of a situation but I have been overlooked at times and hurt," said Flannigan. He is a baseball player. 'I'm doing what Derrick Coleman did, just keep my head up and work hard," he says.
There are 20 deaf and hard of hearing athletes on sports teams at N.T.I.D/ R.I.T. Some use interpreters; others use visual cues such as flashing lights in order to play alongside their hearing team mates.
The very real lives of these deaf athletes played out in the pools and on the fields and courts are now, thanks to Seahawks #40, reaching a national audience on a Super Bowl-sized stage. Those who share Coleman's story, also share his triumph.
"It gives me goose bumps to see that," Flanagan says of the Duracell video. "I feel proud we have someone in the deaf community like that."
"It's a big inspiration," adds Farrell. "A deaf person can play at any level. He's a perfect example of that."