Hearing-Impaired Latino Teen Benefits From Football Program

Two hearing-impaired high school students at Whitney Young High School have the desire to play football even though they can't hear the whistle or their coach calling plays.

Whitney Young's varsity football team is getting ready for what they hope to be a big season. They've been practicing all day for a couple of weeks and now it's time to make sure everyone knows the plays.

Dareous Glover is a sophomore linebacker in his first year playing football; and even though he's deaf, it doesn't seem to matter on the field.

"It's wonderful coming to practice," Glover gloats.

When asked what the hardest part is for him, Glover responds: "I try to do offense but it's hard but I'm learning and improving. I'm getting a lot better. Offense is---it's hard to run--you know, I get tired."

Dannary Alvarez is a senior at Whitney Young, who plays offense and defense and is also hearing-impaired. He's been playing football for a couple of years and while he loves the game, not being able to hear the plays can be challenging.

"Well, you know, my coach is teaching me and I'm learning but it's hard sometimes too and you know, I try my best. It's hard to communicate sometimes."

Their interpreter, Kathryn Schmidt, works for Chicago public schools and is out on the field everyday with her two students.

"If the coach needs to say something to them specifically, I have to run in interpret it, then run back out. I can't do that for the game--only for the practices."

Whitney Young's big game is this Saturday at Soldier Field against St. Ignatius. Because of rules, the interpreter is not allowed on the field. So, to help out the hearing-impaired players, she's going to write their plays on a wristband.

Coach Tim Franken says these two are good players and he treats them like the rest of the team.

"I think the one thing they want is to be treated normally...and we make sure we treat as normal as the other players, if there's such a thing."

The only thing they all want to know is who's starting on Saturday.

More stories: My Fox Chicago

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