Deaf Student Defies Odds on Football Field

LUBBOCK,TX - A local high school student stands out on the football field for his talent, but continues to surprise teammates by being deaf. 

"I play hard, I'm playing the game, I'm ready, I'm ready to go hard," Omar Ramirez said.

He is a half-back on the Coronado High School Junior Varsity football team and said he's been playing since 7th grade in Lubbock. Once the Mustang jersey and helmet are on, the teen said nothing else matters on the field. 

"I can work hard, try your best, and respectful and be a coach," Ramirez said. 

"I don't think he's plays any different than anybody else," Ramirez's Interpreter Ethan Stephens said. "He works just as hard as everybody else, it's just he needs an extra accessory around, me, to help him know what's going on and it's not really different than anybody, he just can't hear what he's doing sometimes."

This is the first time Stephens is interpreting for Ramirez on the field. He added he stays on the sideline near the coach to sign if needed.  

"I just try to sign really big because the coaches are yelling so I try to match what the coaches are doing," Stephens said. 

Stephens also joins Ramirez in the classroom, requiring him to be up to date on each lesson and football play. However, he described his role more as a support system for the player. 

"The coaches use signals for their plays so he learns this signal means I do this, same as any other," Stephens said. "So they're all pretty much on the same level as far as that."

Ramirez's coaches and team expressed their support for the player, but said some did not realize he is deaf. 

"He's a really hard working player," Ramirez's Teammate Ivan Ramirez said. "I've known him since 7th grade and he runs the same route as me, but he's faster."

"He's really fast, he can catch really good, and he's a good route runner," Ramirez's Teammate Tommy Gallagher said. 

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