Congratulations to the First Deaf NFL Player to Play in the Super Bowl: Derrick Coleman!

By Tara Guastella

Hearing loss is sometimes considered an invisible disability. You usually can’t see hearing loss but the impact it has can be life-altering. Many even try to hide their hearing loss for fear of embarrassment. Others embrace it and do everything in their power to not let it hamper them. Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman—who played in the Super Bowl Sunday—embraces it.

I was so moved when I first watched the Duracell commercial (below) that featured Coleman. Over the years at HHF we’ve been in touch with so many actors, sports stars, politicians, and other celebrities that are afraid of “coming out” about their hearing loss. But Coleman freely and openly talks about his hearing loss in a positive way.

Coleman, at the age of 23, broke the mold and has had an enormous impact on each and every person that experiences or knows someone who experiences hearing loss. He has become a role model for those young and old alike. He told the New York Times, “If you really want something, you find a way to make it happen.”

Coleman made it happen during last night’s game. And over the past few weeks he has made it happen for some of his biggest fans: children and young adults with hearing loss. He personally responded to an inspirational letter sent to him via Twitter from Riley Kovalcik, a 9-year-old girl who wears two hearing aids. A couple of days later Coleman surprised Riley and her twin sister with tickets to last night’s big game. Adham Talaat of Bridgewater, N.J., who is training for May’s NFL draft, believes that Coleman will pave the way for other players who are deaf. The senior at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., says he never had a deaf role model until he learned of Coleman.

I am so proud of Coleman and the Seahawks for their victory against the Denver Broncos last night (and this is coming from a diehard NY Giants fan!).

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