Deaf Athlete Joins NCAA Team

Trailblazer is determined to break barriers for the deaf
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 5, 2009 10:14 AM CST

(Newser) – Signing to play football for Baltimore’s Towson University is a big leap for Ryan Bonheyo—and for the Division I program, too, the Washington Post reports: Bonheyo is deaf, and will be the lone such player at Towson and one of very few to earn a scholarship in any sport. “It’s a lifelong dream,” says the star linebacker and running back. “Get that equal-rights thing going.”

Towson will provide interpreters to ease the transition for 6-foot-2, 210-pound Bonheyo, from Frederick, Md. “During a game, there is a whole lot of communication that goes on without talking,” assures his new coach, who’s considering sign-language classes. Bonheyo will likely focus on playing defense, a bit easier because hand signals are commonly used.