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Arizona cardinals Derrick Coleman visits Phoenix School for the Deaf

Posted at 7:18 PM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 21:18:23-05

An Arizona Cardinals player is hoping to inspire hundreds of Phoenix students who are all either deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Derrick Coleman, a fullback for the Cardinals and the NFL's first legally deaf offensive player, visited 250 students at the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf on Tuesday.

"(I'm) showing them, hey, I'm somebody just like you guys, I was in your shoes," Coleman said. "I've been through everything you guys (have) been through. I just want to show them I'm nobody special. You guys can be anything in the world."

Coleman, who uses a hearing aid, said he first started to lose his hearing at the age of three. 

"I had to overcome bullying," he said. "I had to overcome people not believing in me."

Coleman shared his story with the students in a packed auditorium. He hopes it inspires them to reach their goals.

ABC15 spoke with one of the students through a translator who says she appreciates Coleman's visit.

"A lot of people feel a lot of empathy for those of us who are deaf and really just cast us aside," said Maddie Fears, a senior at the school. "We want them to know that deaf people can do anything."

According to the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, there are roughly 1.1 million people affected by this in Arizona.