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Cochlear Implant College Basketball Player Greg White

Posted Feb 01 2011 7:37pm

Greg White's college basketball coach had no idea he was deaf.  Because Greg hears so well with his cochlear implants, his coach assumed that his player was simply ignoring him during practice one day.  It took a teammate telling the coach that Greg was deaf for the coach to know!
Mark Znidar of the Columbus Dispatch writes:
White's hearing was never brought up because he has never considered it a problem. He can pick up low-level sounds such as an eraser on a blackboard and soft rain on the roof of a car because of a hearing aid in his right ear and a cochlear implant in his left.
He speaks clearly, although people have asked if he is from a foreign country. There is a hint of what can best be described as baby talk in his speech.
White has a 3.2 GPA through two years of college at Ohio Wesleyan, is a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, all while starting on the basketball team.
These accomplishments wouldn't be possible, White said, had his parents, Richard and Cathe, not decided to raise him in the hearing world after his deafness was diagnosed at age 8 months. He was outfitted with a hearing aid at 9 months and enrolled in a private school when the family lived in Whittier, Calif.
"Everybody in our family is hearing and everybody we knew could hear, so we said Greg would remain in the hearing world," Mrs. White said. "If you don't begin oral training in a child's first years, he or she always will be behind. When he was an infant, I would be so verbal with everything. Greg has worked so hard to get this far. It's a credit to him."
Interestingly, as we have discussed on this blog, the White family was approached and told what to do with Greg.  They were told that their son should be raised in the deaf community.
"A specialist gave us his card and said, 'Get back to me because your son is so deaf that he will never be able to talk,'" Mrs. White said. "I'd like to talk to that man now. There was such a big push at the time to enroll him in the deaf culture."
Whether you've experienced pressure to be involved in deaf culture, or whether you are a member of that community and have faced pressure to be involved in the hearing world, Greg White has the interesting experience of belonging to both, as he recently began playing in the World Deaf Basketball Championships.
"I had to learn sign language," White said. "Playing basketball with the deaf has been a great experience. But I'm glad I'm part of the hearing culture. I have my parents to thank for that."
Congratulations to Greg White, and when you get frustrated with helping your children hear, read, and grow, just look at what hard work can do! P.S. Remember NBA cochlear implant basketball player Lance Allred ?
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