Meet America’s first legally deaf offensive player in the National Football League. Fullback Derrick Coleman, 23, of Los Angeles has been deaf since the age of 3 because of a genetic and incurable hearing impairment. He was the star of Duracell battery commercial that has gone viral. The story in the commercial isn’t fictional, it’s Coleman’s life. “They told me it couldn’t be done. That I was a lost cause. I was picked on. And picked last,” Coleman says in the commercial. “They gave up on me. Told me I should just quit.”
His achievements as a footballer have been nothing less than remarkable, starting in High School, continuing at UCLA and then finally playing for the Seattle Seahawks. Coleman had to teach himself to read lips because sometime even his powerful hearing aids wouldn’t be enough. As for the cheering fans he says he can definitely hear them, but only as a muffles sound. Initially he had problems fixing the hearing aids along with a helmet. Coleman’s mother, May Hamlin, used a pair of pantyhose to help the hearing aids stay put inside his helmet and to cut down on the feedback he’d get, which she says she did to help Coleman achieve his dreams.
“You can always make something work if you really put your mind to it,” Coleman said. “You can definitely achieve it and that’s why when people say I can’t do something, I know that I probably can or will at least try my best to get it done and if I don’t, at least I tried.”