Seahawks' Coleman Tackles Hearing Obstacle - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Seahawks' Coleman Tackles Hearing Obstacle

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The Seattle Seahawks' Derrick Coleman can feel the fans banging on the bleachers, but he can't hear them chanting his name.

Seattle's backup fullback lost his hearing when he was 3-years-old and is now fully hearing-impaired, which to most people would be a huge set back.

Yet, the 23-year-old player from Los Angeles refuses to let his hearing troubles get in his way of receiving a Super Bowl ring.  He will be on the field Sunday when the Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

It almost seems obvious that a deaf player in any sport would experience difficulties if they could not hear the plays called to him, the refs' calls, or communicate with the fans.

The Seahawk's coach, Pete Carroll, does not think it is an issue at all with Coleman. The team picked him up two years ago as a free agent. He has played throughout the season as a blocker and special teams member.

Coach Carroll says Derrick does his job "impeccably well in all areas and everything that we ask of him. He is a fantastic part of the team and it's been a really cool story. Not because he has issues, because he's made this team and he's made a spot for himself. He's claimed it. The fact that he has a hearing issue is really not even something that we deal with."

Although Coleman does not let his hearing impairment hinder his performance, he still deals with it every moment of his life. He recently did a commercial for Duracell Batteries to spread awareness.

"It's spreading awareness not just for the hearing-impaired but for everybody," Coleman said. "Everybody has problems, but we can still do what we want to do."

Coleman has had that same dedication since he was a kid. He always was outstanding athlete but never was chosen due to his handicap.

"Any opportunity I get, I always cherish it," Coleman said. "You only get so many opportunities in a lifetime. This is one I definitely didn't want to squander or pass up."

When Coleman was in high school, his coaches even tried to use his lip-reading skills to benefit the team and steal an opponent's signals.

"It is hard 50 yards across the field," he said. "I'd done it once for having fun, freshman year in high school. Coach said, 'What are they about to run? I said, 'outside,' and he changed the whole defense and we stopped them.

And even though Coleman cannot hear the roaring fans, he relishes in how everything feels.

"I get the same feeling everybody gets," said Coleman "You all walk through the tunnel and everybody cheering is heart-warming, the fans cheering you on."

"In terms of being loud and able to hear that, I feel it. I don't exactly hear it, I don't get pain like you guys," Coleman added Thursday to a group of reporters

"I know they are all yelling, I can hear everybody talking, but it doesn't hurt me as much as anybody else.

"You have a lot of problems if you can't feel that."

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