Derrick Coleman, the first deaf offensive player to ever play in the NFL, shows the world that having a disability doesn't mean you have to give up on your dreams.
The 23-year-old NFL player narrates his story in an inspirational commercial from Duracell. Deaf since age 3, Coleman shares the obstacles he's faced - and overcome - to eventually be drafted to the Seattle Seahawks this past year.
When the running back was asked by Sporting News why he decided to team up with Duracell for the commercial, he says, "I just hope to inspire people, especially children, to trust the power within and achieve their dreams."
Coleman is doing just that. The Good News Blog spoke to a family that can't thank the football player enough for the hope they've brought to the deaf community - particularly 7-year-old Gavin.
Born premature and weighing only 1 pound, 12 ounces, Gavin was severely ill as a newborn, suffering from Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a serious inflammation of the intestines. His family spent the first year of his life uncertain if he would live. Gavin survived, but was given large amounts of medication that, as a side effect, destroyed his hearing. He wore hearing aids as an infant, and at 15 months, had the surgery for cochlear implants.
"Though some experts said he wouldn't be able to do so many things, he continues to defy the odds," his mother Crystal Maus of West Fargo, ND tells the Good News. "He has grown into a smart, outgoing little boy who is the class clown, enjoys musical, dancing and making people laugh."
Photo: Gavin Maus (Credit: Fat Cat Studios)
"Gavin is always looking for other people wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants like his," Crystal says. "Because Gavin's uncle is an NFL player [Buffalo Bills placekicker Dan Carpenter], he especially looks up to football players. He was completely floored when he saw Derrick Coleman's commercial for Duracell, shouting, 'Mommy, he is deaf like me!'"
Photo: Gavin and Nolan watching their uncle, Dan Carpenter, play with the Buffalo Bills; Gavin fishing with Uncle Dan.
"Derrick is a perfect example that nothing can stand in the way of a determined person with a dream, no matter what the obstacle," she says. "Gavin has taught our family the truth in that and we are so happy Derrick is using his platform to show what deaf people can do."
Photo: The Maus family: Parents Crystal and Brock; Gavin and his twin brother Nolan; baby brother Brandt. (Credit: Fat Cat Studios)
"We were both brought to tears," recalls Crystal's sister and Dan's wife Kaela of when they first saw Coleman's commercial. "Derrick is a perfect example of tenacity, and we are proud to have him in our NFL family."
"Gavin inspires Dan and me every single day as we continue to be amazed by his happy-go-lucky attitude, and his ability to grab life by the horns, despite everything he goes through," she tells us. "He puts into perspective what's truly important in life."
More of the Good News:
Autistic Teen Scores Touchdown with Help from Amazing Teammates
This High School Football Player Hit the Field After Losing a Leg
Little Girl Does Amazing Thing for Deaf Parents