Deaf Football Player Hands On With Canton Eagles - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/30/06-Canton

Deaf Football Player Hands On With Canton Eagles

Football is a tough for any player, but especially for a player who has never heard a single play called.

"I was born Deaf," said Canton Eagles senior linebacker Wesley Eddleman.

Wesley  may not be able to hear the sounds of the game he loves, but what his ears cannot do, he makes up for with his heart.

"I moved here (to Canton) from Tyler," he explained. "There were just too many people on the team there, so that's why I moved here, to play football."

Wesley never played on a team until four years ago, his freshman year.

Along with Wesley's first season came a first for his interpreter, Kim Abbott.

"I did not know anything really about football," she said.

But, as Wesley learned the game so did Kim. Now she is as much a part of the team as he is.

"I do sit in on the meetings and I study the plays so I can be able to help him," she said.

It is because of Kim, the coaches and his teammates, Wesley said he keeps stepping out onto the field.

"It's hard for me sometimes," Wesley explained. "People and coaches help me and touch me along the way."

"There's a lot of signaling both defensive signals and offensive signals. So that helps," said Canton head coach Lance Angel. "It's a language in itself. Other time it's tough. We huddle so Wesley understands the plays."

Wesley learns the ropes from plays on his wristbands, watching film and studying. Kim said for Wesley, it is a labor of love.

"I've seen football really encourage him through his studies and understanding what a team is, friendships have happened."

"My friends are very nice to me they're not rude or make fun of me," Wesley said.

After this season Wesley plans to attend Tyler Junior College, but before he leaves high school he has already learned a valuable lesson.

"Even if you can't hear its very good to play sports," Wesley said. 

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