The NFL has become notorious because of the high number of concussions suffered by its players. And while we have talked this week about how hearing loss can be a result of excessive concussions, this article is about how athletes can overcome hearing loss and make it to the highest level of sport.
One current NFL player has made a career despite hearing impairment while another player is aiming to make it in the league.
Reed Doughty of the Washington Redskins is a starting safety with a hearing impairment that goes back to his childhood and is likely a hereditary condition. His father has a similar severe hearing impairment, as does his grandmother. Doughty has excelled in football by learning defensive hand signals and using his athletic abilities to compensate for his hearing loss.
Similarly, Derrick Coleman, a running back who was waived by the Minnesota Vikings last year, is hoping to catch on with another team for this season. Coleman, a graduate of UCLA, wears hearing aids and needs to read lips in order to excel on the field and in life. His hearing loss began when he was only three years old.
Hearing-impaired players have made an impact on the game in the past. In fact, the huddle used in the NFL is a formation invented by players with hearing loss. Offensive players at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. used the huddle to prevent their opponents from seeing their hand signals that indicated the plays they would run.
The NFL has had two others players with significant hearing loss: Bonnie Sloan, who played four games in 1973 with the Cardinals, and Broncos defensive lineman Kenny Walker, who played 31 games from 1991-92.
If you have any questions about hearing loss, book a complimentary appointment with any of our clinics across Canada.