Athlete isn't letting deafness stop her

March 3, 2008 5:51:27 PM PST
The high school softball season getting into full swing around the area. Out at Cy Ridge, there's a player who knows no limitations. Her name is Gwen Haley. She's deaf, but that has never stopped her when it comes to taking the field.

Haley has an infectious smile. She also has a pretty good swing. Gwen is getting ready for her first season on the Rams' varsity team. But for Gwen, there is no ping of the bat, no pop of the glove. She was born deaf. But in Gwen, you have a player you can't silence.

"Actually softball comes very easy naturally to me," said Gwen through signer Patti Lury,

Gwen and Patti have teamed together for the last 11 years. Softball is their second sport this year. Gwen finished fifth in the Region III wrestling tournament a few weeks ago.

"I really enjoyed wrestling with her. It was great. We had to develop new sign language, jus the two of us," said Patti. "Hopefully we'll have to do the same for softball."

"Individual sports are harder for me," said Gwen. "I can't hear what coach says. During wrestling, I close my eyes a lot of times and couldn't see interpreter said."

Like baseball, softball has a language of its own. A lot of it, though, is signs. Gwen is a catcher so working with the pitchers is no problem.

"Sometimes it's easy , but sometimes it's hard," said Gwen. "I need to make sure move to right position and tell them what kind of pitch to throw."

"It's the same because we use signs, so you don't have to talk too much," said Cy Ridge pitcher Taylor Munguia. "But when you do, it's OK."

Gwen is already being recruited by Gallaudet University, a deaf university. But she gave us a sign of where she really wants to go -- the unmistakable 'Hook 'em Horns' of the University of Texas.

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