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AbledPeople Post Banner shows a still-frame from a TV commercial for Duracell batteries featuring Derrick Coleman, a fullback for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks who has been deaf since the age of 3, putting his helmet on as he walks out to the stadium field. The text reads: Derrick Coleman, The Seahawks fullback who's inspiring a generation of Deaf Fans.

A screenshot from an NBC News feature on Derrick Coleman shows the Seattle Seahawks fullback visiting 'Listen and Talk' a program for kids with hearing loss. Many of the children are wearing Seattle Seahawks jerseys.

 

Derrick Coleman: Abled.com Person Of The Month for January 2014

 

“I’m just a guy who has hearing aids and wanted to play football and found a way to do it”

 

Those are the words of a humble 23 year old who claims ‘he’s nobody special’, but millions of people around the world are quickly becoming fans because of his inspirational story. And millions more will likely follow because of features done about his story on CBS News This Morning, NBC Nightly News, and ABC’s World News Tonight.

 

Derrick Coleman is the first offensive player in the National Football League who is legally deaf. That may be inspiring in itself. But it’s his quiet dignity and perseverance in the face of a lifetime of bullying and marginalizing by non-believers, as well as the way he is inspiring a generation of young people living with hearing loss, that is winning over new fans.

 

And that’s the reason we’ve named Derrick Coleman “Abled.com Person of the Month”.

 

His story is also featured in an ad by Duracell and it has gone viral with over 6.8 million views on YouTube.

 

In the last games leading up to the Superbowl, it’s a story that had many people around the world hoping that he and his team, the Seattle Seahawks go all the way to the championship. And, after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in a heart-stopping final, they will.

 

Ironically, as NBC puts it, “he plays in the loudest sports stadium, with one of the most boisterous, raucous and turbulent fans in the nation.

 

“I may not hear all of them, but I can feel them,” says Coleman. “The vibration, their faces, it helps me hear them.”

 

One of the most eloquent comments related to the story of Derrick Coleman was posted recently at HuffingtonPost.com by “Lisa” (lcksav):

 

“Dear Mr. Coleman:

 

Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I too have a hearing impairment that started when I was a child. I am over 55% deaf to low tones in both ears.

 

As I grew up many people made fun of me asking, “Are you stupid”? “Are you deaf”? Well, the answer was “No, I’m not stupid and yes, I am deaf”.

 

I can’t begin to tell you how living a normal life is with hearing loss, especially when you can’t afford hearing aids, or have to borrow from your 401k to pay for them. As well, insurance companies don’t help with the cost involved.

 

I have lived my life trying to explain to people at the drive-thru window, the bank, the receptionists at the doctors’ offices, my own family and co-workers that I AM DEAF, not stupid!

 

Perhaps through your story less children will feel the pain of growing up deaf, and more people will be more aware of how cruel they can be. Deafness is not like the loss of eyesight; you can see that someone is wearing glasses, but in the case of deafness, unless an individual can afford the hearing aids, it just appears that they are stupid, not paying attention, or yes…deaf.”

 

You can learn more about this remarkable young man in the the Duracell ad below, followed by the ‘America Strong Report’ from ABC News, the NBC report and the CBS report.

 

Remarkably the automated transcripts provided by the network are failing deaf viewers. NBC’s report had the most accurate transcript/closed-captioning, while ABC’s was markedly inaccurate. CBS had no closed-captioning or transcript whatsoever, which is a disservice to deaf viewers as reflected in the comments on their site.

 

It’s a ‘duh’ moment for their producers because the CBS report is the best and most extensive report, and you would think that with a high-profile story such as Coleman’s that is going more viral everyday, proper closed-captioning and a transcript would be an obvious service to provide.

 

None of the networks, including YouTube, allow for a transcript or closed-captioning when you share and embed a video from their site, so we’ve provided AbledTranscripts for our deaf users following each of the videos.

Duracell’s ad of Derrick Coleman’s inspiring story goes viral with over 6.8 million hits

AbledTranscript of the Duracell Ad for our deaf users:

0:04 [Fans cheering] [Sudden silence]
0:04 They told me it couldn’t be done . . . that I was a lost cause.
0:10 I was picked on . . . and picked last.
0:15 Coaches didn’t know how to talk to me.
0:18 [Sounds of football game] They gave up on me . . . told me I should just quit
0:27 [… and the last pick is …] They didn’t call my name . . . told me it was over.
0:38 But I’ve been deaf since I was three . . . so I didn’t listen.
0:44 [Motivational music]
0:47 Now I’m here . . . with the loudest fans in the NFL cheering me on. And I can hear them all.

 

ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer’s ‘America Strong’ feature on Derrick Coleman.

AbledTranscript of the ABC News report for our deaf users:

Diane Sawyer: The professional football player about to play the biggest game of his life in front of the loudest fans in history. And he has become an inspiration by tackling a challenge on and off the field. And ABC’s Neal Karlinsky has the man who is America strong.

Neal Karlinsky: (Fan cheers) To most of us the stadium famous for being the loudest in the NFL sounds like this. (Loud roar of the fans). But to Seattle Seahawks number forty that fierce roar sounds more like this dull rumble– (muted sound of the fans roar).

Derrick Coleman: Being deaf, being hard of hearing, that’s who I am, so I mean I’m not somebody else come in here and tell tell me ‘Oh you’re deaf’;  that’s who I am, so it made me who I am today.

Neal Karlinsky: Derrick Coleman is the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL.  The fullback is the unlikely star of this Duracell battery commercial, viewed nearly five million times online.

Derrick Coleman voiceover in Duracell ad: They told me it couldn’t be done . . . that I was a lost cause . . . I was picked on.

Neal Karlinsky: Deaf since the age of three he never quit and overcame incredible odds,  first as a star in high school, then at UCLA, and now with the Seattle Seahawks. He taught himself to read lips because even his powerful hearing aids aren’t enough for him to know exactly when a play is about to begin.

Neal Karlinsky: You used to have tricks . . .

Derrick Coleman: I don’t move until the ball moves, that’s my thing. I think I had maybe two false starts in my whole career.

Neal Karlinsky: When a play is changed at the last minute, watch the quarterback turn so Coleman can read his lips.

Play by play announcer: Russell Wilson turned around and mouthed ‘the audible’ to him.

Neal Karlinsky: As his team plays the last game team standing between them and the Super Bowl this weekend, number forty will be there . . . reading lips and feeling the vibrations of the fans’ cheers.

Derrick Coleman: When people . . . it’s like ‘oh you can’t do this’ . . . it’s more motivation for me, like . . . OK, watch me.

Neal Karlinsky: That’s America Strong. Neal Karlinsky, ABC News, Seattle.

NBC Nightly News report on Derrick Coleman.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

AbledTranscript of the NBC News report for our deaf users:

Reporter: Growing up in Seattle will make you a fan of the Seahawks, but something else is making these kids a fan of one Seahawk in particular, Number 40.

Young boy:  He has hearing aids like me.

Reporter: He is talking about Derrick Coleman , who recently paid a visit to Listen & Talk, a program for kids with hearing loss . Coleman left a big impression on 5-year-old Korrigan Donaldson.

Reporter: What do you want to do when you grow up?

Korrigan Donaldson:  I want to be a football player.

Reporter: Coleman is the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. The fullback for the Seahawks just happens to play in a stadium known for earth shaking cheers that actually measure on the Richter Scale .

Derrick Coleman:  It’s great. I mean, their energy is basically more energy for us, more motivation.

Reporter: Can you feel the fans?

Derrick Coleman: Oh, yeah. i can feel it.

Reporter: Coleman ‘s hearing aids help on the fields but more than anything he relies on reading lips.

Derrick Coleman: It’s my job to go out and prove to everybody basically what I’m doing now, is that I can do the same thing everybody else can do.

May Hamlin (Derrick Coleman’s mother):  This is around 2 years old . . .

Reporter: His mother knows it wasn’t easy. Growing up kids would tease her son who has been deaf since age 3.

May Hamlin (Derrick Coleman’s mother):  I would tell him, you know what? God made you like you are for a purpose and a reason and you don’t let anybody bring you down.

Derrick Coleman voiceover from Duracell ad: I was picked on  [other kid calls him ‘four ears’] and picked last.

Reporter: Coleman’s story “perseverance” is now featured in a Duracell commercial that’s gone viral.

Derrick Coleman voiceover in Duracell Ad: Now I’m here with a lot of fans in the NFL cheering me on, and I can hear them all.

Reporter: He empowers kids like Josh Masters who dreams of playing college basketball .

Josh Masters: We’ve both been put down; we’ve both been having setbacks just because we’re deaf, but beyond that we both kept on pushing.

Reporter: That is why Coleman shares his story.

Derrick Coleman: With a hundred kids in there, I just want at least one of them to walk out of there knowing that, okay,  I can do this.

Reporter: An inspiring message fans can hear and, most of all, feel. Joe Fryer, NBC News, Seattle.

CBS News This Morning report on Derrick Coleman.

AbledTranscript of the CBS News This Morning report for our deaf users:

[In Studio] CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose: This morning, a battery commercial is the latest Internet sensation. It stars Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks. He is the only athlete in NFL history to play offense, despite the fact he is legally deaf. Bill Whitaker caught up with Coleman as he gets ready for another chance to break one more barrier . . . the Super Bowl.

Bill Whitaker: When the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers this weekend, no one will be paying better attention than Derrick Coleman. 

Derrick Coleman: I have to be aware. I have to be focused more than everybody else. 

Bill Whitaker: Diagnosed with profound hearing loss, Coleman relies on lip-reading and his own unique way of communicating with the quarterback. 

Derrick Coleman: He knows to look at me. If he makes an audible at the line of scrimmage, he knows to tell everybody . . . turn back at me just one more time, and he will tell me the play.

Bill Whitaker: It’s the way he’s always played the game.

Derrick Coleman: I’m capable of doing what everybody else can do, and  . . . despite whether I have hearing loss or not.

Bill Whitaker: You’re hearing loss is no excuse.

Derrick Coleman: No, no. You can’t use your problem as an excuse, y’know, because . . . uh, you use it as an excuse, you’re not going to get to your dream.

Bill Whitaker: He was taught that philosophy at an early age. ‘Turns out, to really know Derrick Coleman’s story, you have to meet the parents. His mother, May Hamlin and father, Derrick Coleman Sr., were worried when their son began losing his hearing at the age of 3.

Derrick Coleman Sr.:  You feel that . . . that uncertainty, that fear as a parent, y’know, is my child gonna be OK?

May Hamlin: He was definitely teased, uh, he was bullied, y’now, they were calling him ‘four ears’ . . .

Derrick Coleman: My mom always said ‘people who make fun of you . . . trying to bring you down, are already down . . . they’re trying to bring you to their level.

Bill Whitaker: These days, Coleman wears a skull cap  to keep his hearing aids in place under his helmet. As a kid, he had to improvise. 

May Hamlin: I took a pair of my pantyhose and I cut the pantyhose and I tied the top of it and I said ‘well let’s see if this works, and if this holds ’em in’, and lo and behold, it worked.

Derrick Coleman: A lot of people say ‘Oh. your football career started with some pantyhose’- I’m like, well, everybody has their story and that just happens to be mine.

Bill Whitaker: By the time he reached high school in souther California, it was Coleman’s athletic ability, not his disability, that garnered attention.

Derrick Coleman Sr.: I was like, ‘Wow this kid can , he can play football’ . I would be running up and down the field right alongside with him, so at that point you started to feel it, you’re like ‘Hey, he . . . he has something.

May Hamlin: ‘Look at him! Oh my God, go!’  and he knew exactly where I sat . . . I couldn’t sit around people in fear that they would say something negative about his hearing. He knew exactly where I sat, all the way at the top, all alone by myself.

Derrick Coleman: I always knew she was in that corner.

Bill Whitaker: Despite his college stats – he rushed for 17 hundred yards and scored 19 touchdowns for UCLA, he was passed over in the NFL draft.

Derrick Coleman: Maybe it’s just a blessing in disguise.

Bill Whitaker: He was invited to try-out for the Seahawks.

Derrick Coleman: A bad thing happened, I didn’t get drafted . . . well . . . there was an opportunity right after that to go prove to them . . . prove them wrong that they should have drafted me, they should have gotten me.

Bill Whitaker: I think you proved it.

Derrick Coleman: Oh yeah, I’m proving it now, but I still got a long way to go.

Derrick Coleman voiceover from Duracell ad: I was picked on  [other kid calls him ‘four ears’] and picked last.

Bill Whitaker: Coleman’s Duracell commercial has over 4 million views in only 5 days. 

Derrick Coleman voiceover from Duracell ad: And now I’m here with the loudest fans in the NFL cheering me on . . . and I can hear them all.

Bill Whitaker: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says the ad is inspiring and he’s already seen Coleman’s positive impact on others.

Pete Carroll: I’ve seen Derrick talk to kids before that have the same kinds of issues that they deal with, and he’s an extraordinary model, and he’s got a great message.

Bill Whitaker: A big dream has to be  just sittin’ out there . . .the Super Bowl.

Derrick Coleman: Well within reach, but , um, I’m probably gonna work hard all week. That’s the Vince Lombardi trophy that I could touch, right there, y’know. How many people get a chance to do that?

Bill Whitaker: For CBS This Morning, Bill Whitaker, Bellevue, Washington.

[In Studio] CBS News This Morning anchor Norah O’Donnell: He’s awesome.

CBS News This Morning anchor Charlie Rose: Oh man, he’s good isn’t he? Yeah! One more story of the power of the human will, y’know?

Norah O’Donnell: Absolutely, and . . .  and not only because of his hearing loss, but then he didn’t get drafted and he said ‘that’s just one more opportunity to prove myself’.

Charlie Rose: And that lovely mother sitting up there in the stands where he knew exactly where she was sitting.

Norah O’Donnell: Great parents . . . great parents.

AbledPeople photo shows a close up of a hearing aid on the ear of of a young girl at the Listen and Talk non-profit in Seattle. The hearing aid has e decal of the Seattle Seahawks logo with the number 40 painted on it in honor of Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman.

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Abled Public Service Ad for Listen and Talk, the Seattle-based non-profit that Derrick Coleman supports that is works with children at all degrees of hearing loss. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the World Federation of the Deaf. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the European Union of the Deaf. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the Asia Pacific Sign Language Development Association. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for The National Association of the Deaf in the United States. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the Canadian Association of the Deaf. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for The British Deaf Association. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the Royal Association For Deaf People.Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for Deaf Australia Incorporated. CLick here to go to their website.

 

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Abled link banner to Derrick Coleman's page at the Seattle Seahawks website. Click here to go to the page.
Abled Related Web Coverage Banner link to CNN story on Derrick Coleman. Click here to go to the site.
Abled related web coverage link banner to story titled: How Derrrick Coleman's Duracell Commercial Inspired Me To Confront Hearing Loss. Click here to go to the site.
Abled related web coverage link banner to story about Derrick Coleman at the Seattle Times titled: Derrick Coleman getting loud response to ad featuring his deafness. Click here to go to the site.
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