When the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, all eyes and ears will be on the stars of the game. But while the likes of Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman will compete for the attention of sports reporters, a little-known player has captured the gaze of the mainstream press.
Seattle running back Derrick Coleman has dealt with hearing loss since he was three years old. Now, in his second year in the NFL, Coleman has made noise as an advocate for better hearing health. The Seahawks' ascent to the Super Bowl has brought new-found attention to Coleman, who has become an inspiration for children with hearing issues.
Recently, the running back appeared in a Duracell commercial that showed how the battery maker helps to power the hearing aids he wears on the field. The commercial caught the attention of 9-year-old twin sisters in New Jersey who also use hearing aids.
Here is the commercial.
Thrilled to see an athlete who has excelled despite his hearing loss, one of the girls, Riley Kovalcik, wrote an adorable letter to Coleman. The football player replied with a note of his own and the national media paid attention to their unique bond.
With the Super Bowl being played at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, perhaps the girls and Coleman will having an in-person meeting prior to the February 2 battle with the Denver Broncos.
It's not the first time a hearing-impaired player has impacted the game. 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.
Others players with significant hearing loss include: Reed Doughty, a safety with the Washington Redskins; Bonnie Sloan, who played four games in 1973 with the Cardinals; and Broncos defensive lineman Kenny Walker, who played 31 games from 1991-92.
Do your part to defeat hearing loss - visit a Connect Hearing clinic for a free hearing test and stay connected to the sounds you love.