JJ Waterman Overcomes Hearing Impairment

Jan 30, 2014 8:10 PM

In any athletic event, the sounds of sports are everywhere and sometimes even dictate the game.

West Valley High School JJ Waterman barely hears the noise, but being mostly deaf isn't taking anything away from his successful experience as a player

In a team game, communication is everything. You have to use your eyes and ears at all times.

But, for West Valley senior JJ Waterman, he experiences the game in a very different way.

Waterman is 80% deaf.

"It's hard to hear people and hear the coaches when they're talking so I focus on people's lips," said Waterman. "It's just something I have to overcome. I'm used to it, so it's easy."

West Valley head football coach Greg Grandell says Waterman's talent as a place kicker overshadows his disability.

"He has a handicap and you'd never know it, instead of whining and crying about it, he does everything everyone else does and actually does it better," said Grandell.

This past season, Waterman earned All-Northern Section first team honors after booting a school-record seven field goals with a long of 50 yards.

"I never though I'd be an All-League kicker, it was special to me," Waterman added.

But, it's not just on the football field where Waterman finds success, he's a good soccer player as well and scored a hat trick against Red Bluff on Wednesday.

"He contributes to the team just as much as anybody else, actually more so than a lot of people. He just works at what he does and he helps a lot," said Marcus Simmons, Waterman's teammate.

No one has enjoyed JJ's time as a West Valley athlete more than Waterman himself.

He loves sports, loves the camaraderie with teammates, and loves life more than ever.

"They're like a big sports family to me, they mean a lot to me," said Waterman

He means a lot to them as well, an inspirational athlete with a big heart who doesn't need the full sense of hearing to make the biggest plays.


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