Few environments require you to be more aware of your surroundings than a football field. The speed and physicality of the game demand a sense of space and sound. Additionally, football is game of verbal codes and secret languages. Players need to possess strong command of verbal and hearing skills.

These skill requirements make the story of Derrick Coleman more remarkable. Coleman is fullback on the 2014 Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks football team. As a young child, he suffered severe hearing loss, but defied the odds and now is one of the top athletes in his profession. He bucked the naysayers and, using strong spirit and the use of high-quality hearing aids, is making a difference both on and off the playing field.

Like many others who defy the odds, Coleman’s story serves as inspiration for others. In fact, during last season’s journey to the Super Bowl, Coleman received a letter for 9-year old Riley Kovalcik, who also wears a hearing aid. She wrote to thank Coleman for being an inspiration on her own journey. This story captivated hearing device manufacturer Oticon. The company brought Riley and her twin sister to the 2014 Super Bowl to enjoy the game and to show their support for Coleman.

Prior to the Super Bowl, Derrick Coleman joined a host of pro athletes and other celebrities at a service mission sponsored by the Starkey Hearing Foundation. This mission raised awareness about hearing loss and treatments. Other pre-Super Bowl events highlighted hearing loss among athletes. The Gallaudet University football team, comprised of players all suffering from some hearing loss, was honored by the HearStrong Foundation for their spirit, mind, and heart.

Hearing loss is a difficult and challenging issue. The story of such celebrated athletes as Derrick Coleman serves as a reminder that hurdles can be overcome. His story and the story of other people following their dreams opens the door for other hearing-impaired individuals to live a rich and full life.

Source: Hearing Health Matters

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