By Cory Olsen, mlive 8/22/2013
Full article: http://www.mlive.com/boxing/index.ssf/2013/08/legally_deaf_grand_rapids_boxe.html
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The smile on boxer Germaine McKinney’s face is subtle yet pronounced.
McKinney, 24, is just a couple months away from realizing his goal of becoming a professional boxer and the obstacles he’s conquered while getting there have made him the man he is today.
Practicing the “sweet science” since the age of nine, McKinney has just 10 percent of his hearing, an issue McKinney’s mother, Shari Grant, found out the hard way when he was in preschool.
“I got a call from the school saying he attacked a teacher,” Grant said. “She came up behind him and put her arms around him to tell him something and he just reacted. He’s not like that at all so I knew something wasn’t right.”
When Grant got to the school, McKinney was calm yet confused, he felt sorry for what he had done — the teacher had a black eye.
Grant asked to have her boy tested, she knew something was wrong.
“They did the evaluation and said he has 10 percent flutter hearing,” Grant said. “I wanted to help him work through it as best as I could. I was always up at school to see how they were working with him. Anything they did at school I did at home.”
McKinney made his way through school, through the bullying that comes with being different, the challenges of wearing hearing aides and reading lips.
Now he’s preparing for his dream to come true.
“My career goal is to be successful and provide for my family,” McKinney said of his fiance Danielle Davis and daughter Londyn, 3. “It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been nine. I love it.”
McKinney said it’s been challenging pursuing boxing with hearing loss, but it never kept him out of the ring. Now he wants to take his experiences to youngsters who suffer from the same loss.
“First it was difficult for me because I was afraid but once I got older I realized it wasn’t going to affect what I wanted to do,” McKinney said. “I want to go around and talk to kids who are hearing impaired like me and teach them, tell them that no matter what, you can be what you want to be. They don’t have to be afraid of who they want to be because of their hearing.”
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