Seahawk in Silence – Derrick Coleman
K5 Western Washington’s Home Team
September 11, 2014
SEATTLE—The Seattle Seahawks play in arguably the loudest stadium in the world. Yet one Seahawk can’t hear the crowd.
Running back Derrick Coleman scored a key touchdown in the Seahawks’ season-opening win against the Packers. The fans went crazy. But Derrick only saw the cheers.
“I could feel it in my body, but my ears didn’t really catch it all. My body did though.”
He lost most of his hearing from a childhood disease at age 3.
“When people tell me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do.”
He is one of the few hearing-impaired athletes to make it to the NFL. He may be the only one to make it on offense, where hearing can be critical as quarterback Russell Wilson often changes a play with his voice.
“So he knows straight up OK y’know look at me. Or you don’t have to look at me, just face me.”
Like he has most of his life, Derrick figures out a way to make it work. He wears hearing aids in both ears. But they don’t work well with the noise of the game. So he plays mostly in silence. He says that’s a good thing.
“My disability is actually an advantage over everybody else. Now they’re tryin’ to hear the play. They really gotta focus. All I gotta do is look at ’em and talk.”