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'He is just awesome' | Sylvania youth tackles challenge of playing football deaf

6th grader DeAngelo Brown has made a huge impact for his team this season as a member of the Northview junior Wildcats, despite not being able to hear.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — When it comes to the sport of football, communication is as dependent on success as anything. Yet, what if you took away the ability to hear? 

That's the reality for Sylvania 6th grader DeAngelo Brown, who is deaf, yet continues to thrive in his first year of football.

"When he realized he was different, that's when the attitude started," DeAngelo's grandmother Lacola Brown said. "He didn't know he was different, he felt he was equal with all children."

Tackling the fact he couldn't hear, DeAngelo began to rush toward inclusion.

"Since he was two years old, he always threw the football," Brown said. "He always wanted to tackle and always has been very athletic."

Prior to the Fall, the Brown family decided to sign their energetic youngster up for football, through the Sylvania Recreation District.

"When we drafted him, I knew it was going to be a challenge but coming out he was a great lip reader," Northview junior Wildcats head coach Chris Casper said. "His interpreter, Harley, has been great too with the communication side of things."

As a member of the 6th grade Northview Black team, DeAngelo immediately began to flourish on the gridiron. 

"He is just awesome when he's out on the field, he's one of the hardest working kids we have," Casper said. "He's got super quick feet, he's always at every practice and gives 100 percent. My team feeds off of his energy, he's just a great kid all around."

Watching #3 play as a casual fan, you'd find it hard to believe that it's DeAngelo's first year playing football. If you ask his coach, the silence he experiences while playing actually gives him an edge when it comes to the game.

"When we're doing snap counts and stuff and we're trying to go on two and on three, him not being able to hear is actually an advantage," Casper said.

Even when he's hurt, DeAngelo finds a way to persevere. Knowing that simply competing, is making noise for those in need of inspiration.

"When you got a challenge, everybody has to find something to adapt to so they can feel normal and I think football is it," Brown said. "He's still my special child."


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