Cardinals’ Derrick Coleman overcomes hearing loss to live out dream
PHOENIX — Arizona Cardinals fullback Derrick Coleman is the NFL’s first legally deaf player.
Tuesday afternoon, he shared his stories about overcoming hearing loss, bullying and now living out his dream playing in the NFL to roughly 250 students at the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf.
“The main reason I am here is to let them know they are not alone.” Coleman told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “Everything they are going through and have been through – I have more than likely been through it.”
Since entering the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Vikings in 2012, Coleman has played 56 games in five seasons with Cardinals, Falcons, and Seahawks.
Coleman started playing football in middle school after losing his hearing at the age of three.
As Coleman shared his stories with the hard of hearing and deaf students he talked about his childhood adversities facing bullying and not having resources a deaf person needs.
The 28-year-old legally deaf fullback – admitted he still does not know sign language, but says he is trying to learn.
Coleman also spoke to the students about his life and how he managed to earn a spot in the NFL.
.@AZCardinals fullback Derrick Coleman, the @NFL’s first legally deaf offensive player is sharing his story of overcoming hearing loss & living out his dream to students at @asdbazgov in PHX. “I just want them to know, they’re not alone.” @KTAR923 pic.twitter.com/SoQsjftZIO
— Ali Vetnar (@Ali_Vetnar) November 27, 2018
“First thing first, we have to work twice as hard as everyone else,” Coleman said. “That’s just natural and how it works when you are deaf.”
Engaging with the students, Coleman talked about how he copes with bullies today in the NFL and how he has to make sure he isn’t left out when it comes to hearing on the field.
He explained how he has become proficient at lip reading and that’s one of his biggest tools on the football field.
When it came time for questions from the students, plenty wanted to know why Coleman picked football and how he has become so successful in the sport.
“When I found out I could hit people and not get in trouble for it, I knew it was the right sport for me,” he said.
Derrick Coleman won a Super bowl ring when he was playing for the Seahawks (2013-2014).
Wrapping up his pep rally at the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, Coleman inspired the students to be bold and never be shy.
He explained to them if you stand back and never ask someone to repeat themselves because of their own deafness they will always remain behind.