Duracell's brilliantly moving ad with deaf NFL running back

The Seattle Seahawks' Derrick Coleman is deaf. In a stunning ad for Duracell, he describes his fight.

Derrick Coleman. Duracell/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You just try to be a deaf NFL fullback.

You think you won't have to put up with prejudice, jokes, ignorance, and rejection? You think there won't be days when you'll feel so alone, when you'll feel like you'll never make it?

Derrick Coleman was diagnosed with a genetic hearing impairment when he was 3. He is legally deaf.

He fought through high school in California and through UCLA to follow what his body and soul told him he should be doing: playing football.

Naturally, after college, he was undrafted. Well, NFL teams are known for their enlightened attitude to every sort of disability. So much so that former players are having to fight the NFL to get medical treatment for concussions.

To say that Coleman never gave up sounds like a sporting cliche. But this Duracell ad gives a small glimpse into what he did and who he is.

The ad doesn't have to explain the role a battery might play in his life. Instead, it presents his life and shows what he has to do to be heard.

Heard, in every sense. Heard literally. Heard as a human being. Heard as someone who believes he can play at the highest level.

Coleman's hearing aid keeps him connected with what people are saying, so that he can prove to them by doing.

When asked why he chose to do this ad, he told the Sporting News: "I just hope to inspire people, especially children, to trust the power within and achieve their dreams."

He added: "The biggest thing is just how persistent my mom and family were in not making me using my hearing aids as an excuse, telling me to work extra hard at everything I do as a person, no matter if needed the hearing aids or not. Every kid faces some challenge growing up."

Some challenge.

Coleman says that with his hearing aid, he doesn't hear the crowd noise in the same way as everyone else.

On the other hand, he'll be playing the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.

 

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