Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman is deaf, but you’d never know it on the football field. He’s embraced the challenge and perfected the art of lipreading to succeed in the sport he loves.
Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, the NFL’s first legally deaf offensive player, can hear you just fine. If his hearing aids are in, he said his hearing is about 60-80 percent of what normal people hear (and about 20 percent without the hearing aids). He makes up for the other 20-40 percent by reading lips well.
And if that’s not good enough, especially on the football field, he’s never going to let you know.
“I never really had any or caused any problems, and if I ever did, I made sure it was corrected before I ever went out there,” Coleman said. “I don’t ever really use my hearing aid as an excuse. I’ll find a different excuse before I use my hearing as an excuse.”
He won’t talk about his hearing impairment if it seems like he’s using it as an excuse, but he’s more than willing to discuss how it hasn’t held him back in reaching his goals.
Recently, Coleman has become an inspiration. He really came into the public light with a great Duracell commercial that featured his journey to the NFL. .
He has been a popular interview subject during Super Bowl week. He answered the same questions over and over during the three days of Seahawks media availability, but that’s OK. He wants his message to reach hearing-impaired kids, to let them know that he reached his dream of playing in a Super Bowl, so there’s no reason they can’t reach their dreams too.
“The hardest thing about being in the deaf community is getting over wall one,” Coleman said. “Everything I do is going to affect them in terms of perception. Everything they do is going to affect me. What I’m doing now, getting the opportunity to play for the Seattle Seahawks and getting the chance to play in the Super Bowl, that’s basically saying that when people are hard of hearing now, you can do it too.”
- No Excuses
- I Didn’t Listen