WARRENVILLE, Ill., Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- When Derrick Coleman, the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL, takes the field on Super Sunday – he will set another first, as the only deaf player to play in The Big Game. Derrick will be cheered on not only by Seattle Seahawks' fans, but also by those whose lives have been affected by hearing loss. HearingLikeMe an online community sponsored by Phonak, a global leader in hearing technology, is featuring Derrick in a video that launches today. The HearingLikeMe community is asking fans to "cheer" him on by posting words of encouragement to Derrick at: www.HearingLikeMe.com.
Coleman lost his hearing at the age of three and wants to share his story and his personal slogan "NO EXCUSES" with the HearingLikeMe community because of his experiences with hearing loss and competitive sports. (One area where children with hearing loss feel challenged can be seen in the competitive sports environment.) A combination of ineffective coaching, insecurities and/or overprotective parents can play a role in a child's belief in their own capabilities when it comes to sports or other extracurricular activities that are supposed to boost a child's confidence and help the growth process. His slogan of "NO EXCUSES" and his personal story has been incredibly positive for the hearing loss/hard of hearing community; an estimated 2-3 of every 1,000 children experience hearing loss – and that number jumps to an estimated 30 out of every 1,000 children in school.
"No child, no matter what challenges they may face, should feel alone," said Derrick. "I want kids to know I understand what they are going through. I want their parents to see their son or daughter can go just as far as other children – and if they are a young athlete I want them to see they can take a shot at their dream."
In the short profile video filmed in December at the Virginia Mason Athletic Facility, Derrick talks about what it's like being a fullback/running back and special teams ace for the Seattle Seahawks. He recalls his "heads-up play" for his first NFL touchdown and the "NO EXCUSES" approach his parents took with him. Derrick addresses tough times that tested his own sense of perseverance. Teased by other children and faced with a communication barrier on and off the field, Derrick never gave up. Through the use of hearing aids and by learning to read lips, he went on to gain a scholarship and graduate from UCLA, make an NFL 53 man roster, and, all the while, take time to share his story with others.
Derrick is just one of many inspiring stories told by HearingLikeMe, an online community for people whose lives have been touched by hearing loss. The site's videos and articles provide both education and inspiration, while the forums offer a place for people to connect. At HearingLikeMe.com you'll meet children and adults with hearing loss, as well as the parents, partners and hearing professionals who care for them. Explore workplace issues, compare notes on dating and marriage and discover how other parents navigated life after a hearing loss diagnosis. The site is rich, meaningful and designed to inspire.
How to participate
To show support for Derrick Coleman and for other that are affected by hearing loss, we are encouraging fans to visit HearingLikeMe.com to view Derrick Coleman's video. Please share words of encouragement with Derrick as he makes history during Sunday's World Championship game against the Denver Broncos.
About HearingLikeMe's Sponsor, Phonak
Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak, a member of Sonova Group, has developed, produced and globally distributed state-of-the-art hearing systems and wireless devices for more than 60 years. The combination of expertise in hearing technology, mastery in acoustics and strong cooperation with hearing care professionals allows Phonak to significantly improve people's hearing ability and speech understanding and therefore their quality of life.
Phonak offers a complete range of digital hearing instruments, along with complementary wireless communication systems. With a worldwide presence, Phonak drives innovation and sets new industry benchmarks regarding miniaturization and performance.
 Hearing Loss Association of America