Peter Schuback and Greg Becker, from Hervey Bay High, and Andrew Popovich, from Xavier Catholic College, are avid sportsmen despite hearing difficulties.
Peter Schuback and Greg Becker, from Hervey Bay High, and Andrew Popovich, from Xavier Catholic College, are avid sportsmen despite hearing difficulties. ALISTAIR BRIGHTMAN

Deafness is not a sports barrier

XAVIER Catholic College student Andrew Popovich is proof that being hearing impaired is no barrier to being involved in sport.

The 15-year-old plays soccer, cricket and basketball and brought home a swag of medals after competing in a range of athletics events at the annual Deaf Sports Day on the Gold Coast in June.

“It can be challenging when you play sports for different clubs to hear the coach yelling out but you don’t know what they’re saying,” he said.

“I just figure it out.”

Hervey Bay State High School students Greg Becker, 18, and Peter Schuback, 14, also compete in athletics events despite being deaf.

“I just love sport,” Greg said through an interpreter.

“It’s a big part of my identity.”

Deaf Sports and Recreation Queensland state administrator Julie Lyons was in Hervey Bay on Tuesday to encourage more deaf and hearing-impaired school students to become involved in sport.

She was also promoting free DVDs, available by emailing dsrq@dsrq.org.au, teaching coaches some sign language to make it easier for deaf children to participate.

Speaking through an interpreter, Ms Lyons said sport helped the youngsters develop social skills and make new friends.

She said at sports events designed for deaf and hearing impaired, visual cues were used as signals such as lights or the drop of a white flag to signal the start of races or games.

Ms Lyons, who is on the road in the Wide Bay region this week to promote deaf sports during Disability Action Week, said she wanted to get her sports message out to a lot more hearing-impaired children in regional and isolated areas.



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