Derrick Coleman, a football player with the Seattle Seahawks, is the only legally deaf athlete in professional football history to play offense. In early January 2014, he made a commercial* where he talks about the impact his hearing impairment has had on his life. The video went viral and in less than a week, had 5.5 million views. Coleman’s story provides an excellent teaching opportunity to discuss disabilities and the importance of safeguarding the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in our communities and around the world. As the U.S. Senate debates whether to ratify an international treaty on disability rights (see ADL's Advocacy Alert), Derrick’s story provides an opportunity to put a human face on the impact that fair policy can have on people’s lives.
In this lesson, students will discuss this inspiring football player, learn more about Derrick Coleman’s life and reflect on a story written by a deaf teenager.
See ADL's Curriculum Connections issue “Equal Treatment, Equal Access: Raising Awareness About People With Disabilities and Their Struggle for Equal Rights” which includes Evaluating Children's Books that Address Disability and Communication Guidelines on Disability.