Apache Trio Shares Special Bond

Football is a noisy game.

For B.J. Hester, Rodney Watts and Tyrone Denson it's a silent game. Shouts and praises are received through sign language.

"I enjoy it," Tyrone said. "I can just chill out and be on the field." Tyrone is a wide receiver for the Apaches. B.J is a linebacker and Rodney is a defensive tackle.

Three hearing impaired players on the Apache roster is not a first for TJC. It is each players playing second season together.

"I really didn't think I'd be successful in college football," B.J. said. "I was really surprised."

Tina Beaton is the interpreter for the three Apaches. She relays play calls and coaches instructions,allowing the players to be a part of every game.

B.J. was born deaf.

"Most of my family is either deaf or hard-of-hearing," B.J. explained, "so I think it was just from a family genetic issue that we have."

Rodney and Tyrone both lost their hearing through illness.

"I was born hearing and then later I had a high fever," Tyrone said. "I was ill. So the fever destroyed my hearing."

"When I was a baby, I had a high fever," Rodney explained.

The impairment has not kept them from the football field. Tyrone played at Richardson's J.J. Pearce. B.J and Rodney share another bond.

"We grew up together," B.J. signed with a smile.

TJC did give the old friends a new opportunity.

"Since I was older than him we actually didn't play together but we grew up together in the same school," B.J. said. "So now is actually the first time we've gotten to play together on the same team."

The experience means the world to BJ and Rodney.

"It feels like my brother, having him here," B.J. said.

The three Apaches look to this year for personal and athletic growth. Tyrone hopes to play for Oklahoma State like Tyler's Martel Van Zant, also hearing impaired.

B.J. and Rodney aim for a permanent symbol of their season together.

"I hope to win a championship ring," B.J. said.

"Me too. I want the same thing also," Rodney smiled.

The Apaches open the season on August 30th against Independence Community College in Lindale.