“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”
– Vince Lombardi
Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers
Led the team to three NFL championships
Derrick Coleman – Deaf Super Bowl Champion with the Seattle Seahawks
When he was three years old, Derrick Coleman was diagnosed with a genetic hearing disorder leaving him deaf. He worked with an audiologist throughout his childhood and was able to restore his hearing to near perfect with the help of hearing aids. Though he could hear almost as well as his friends, Coleman remembers being teased for the large devices in both of his ears.
It wasn’t until middle school that Coleman says he found his place of belonging – on the football field. “Football basically gave me a sense of understanding of where I stand in this world,” he said. “And it made me understand the world a lot better. In between those white lines, that’s all that matters.”
Coleman quickly became a star and, as a freshman in high school, made the varsity team; a spot typically held for athletes at least two grades ahead of him. Throughout high school, he broke several high school football records and was named team MVP and first-team all-league as a senior. His success continued through college both on and off the field.
In 2013 Coleman became the third deaf player in NFL history and the first deaf offensive player. Later the same season, playing alongside 52 other Seattle Seahawks, Coleman became the first deaf player to play in the super bowl. The Seahawks went on to win Superbowl XLVIII that year.
For more on how Derrick Coleman persevered and didn’t let being deaf stop him from his dreams of becoming a champion football player, visit www.biography.com/people/derrick-coleman and http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/06/health/derrick-coleman-seahawks-deaf/