Deaf Athletes in Sports – Inclusion and Athletics

A viral commercial from Microsoft featuring the California School of the Deaf’s football team using their new tablet captured the attention of the Deaf and Hearing communities alike, and now a knew question has risen: How do the Deaf play sports? 

We learn pretty quickly from the commercial alone that Deaf Athletes train and play just like hearing athletes: They come to practice, run the drills, and sweat just as much as any other team. The Eagles use the Surface Pro to organize plays and track an athlete’s performance throughout the season, but a hearing team can utilize the same resources.

So where do the differences lie? They are mostly behind the scenes- coaches using different forms of communication, players paying extra attention, and using plays that use the whole team. Deaf NFL player Derrick Coleman (currently playing for the Atlanta Falcons) in a CNN interview said, “The biggest challenge was making sure the quarterback knows that I’m there,” Coleman said. “I’m yelling at him letting him know I’m in. That means you take an extra quick peek at me, that’s all.” A wresting student in Royal Oak, Michigan won the right to use an interpreter during his matches in late 2015.

Notice how these differences don’t affect their ability to play, but instead level the playing field?

Derrick Coleman CNN Article:

Wresting Interpreter Win: