There have been so many inspiring deaf athletes throughout history. Check out our list below of top professional deaf athletes! Do you have a favorite?




Terrence Parkin wearing a green and yellow tracksuit and several gold medals hanging around his neck.

Terence Mike Parkin

"I would like to show the world that there's opportunities for the deaf."

Terence was born on the 12th of April, 1980, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He is a swimmer from South Africa, who won the silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in the 200 metres breaststroke. Parkin, who is deaf, also competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics, as well as the 2005 Deaflympics in which he took home two gold medals.

In 2011, Parkin saved a young boy from drowning. Parkin competed in his first Olympic games in 2000 at the age of 20. He used sign language to communicate with his coach. About his trip to the Olympics, Parkin said "I am going to the Olympics to represent South Africa, but it's so vitally important for me to go, to show that the deaf can do anything. They can't hear, they can see everything. I would like to show the world that there's opportunities for the deaf."



Tamika Catching in red USA basketball jersey. Running down the court while bouncing a basketball.

Tamika Catchings

"Although I plan to step away as a player that is not to say I'll step away from the game, hopefully."

Tamika Devonne Catchings (born July 21, 1979) is an American professional basketball player for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA and Turkish team Galatasaray. She is a prolific scorer close to and far from the basket, as well as a capable rebounder, ball handler, and defender. After playing at Adlai E. Stevenson High School and graduating from Duncanville High School, Tamika Catchings became one of the stars of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team. In 2001, she was drafted by the Indiana Fever. After sitting out the entire year in which she was drafted due to injury, she had an all-star rookie season in 2002. In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history. Catchings is a ten-time WNBA All-Star, a five-time All-WNBA selection and is famous for recording the first ever quintuple-double (25 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals and 10 blocks in 1997). Now, she serves as President of the WNBA Players Association as of the 2012 season. Tamika retired in 2016 and now serves as a game analyst for Women's Basketball Games on the SEC Network.



Cliff Bastin wearing a red Arsenal Football Club jersey. Text on image in red says Cliff Bastin

Cliff Bastin

Clifford (Cliff) Bastin was born in Exeter, Devon on 14th March, 1912. At the age of 14 he played for England Schoolboys against Wales.

Bastin signed for Exeter City and at the age of 15 made his league debut. Bastin scored six goals in 17 games when Herbert Chapman persuaded him to sign for Arsenal in May 1929 for £2,000. This was considered to be a huge sum to pay for a teenager who had only played in seventeen league games. Bastin won his last international cap for England against France on 26th May, 1938. The England team that day also included Frank Broome, Stan Cullis, Ted Drake, Len Goulden, Eddie Hapgood, Stanley Matthews, Bert Sproston, Vic Woodley and Alf Young. Bastin got one of the goals in England's 4-2 victory. Bastin had scored 12 goals in 21 games for his country.

For many years Bastin experienced hearing loss and by this stage his career he was completely deaf. He also had a reoccurring problem with his right-leg. However, it did not stop him from scoring his 150th Football League goal on 4th February 1939. During the Second World War Bastin's deafness meant he was exempt from active service and played in 250 friendly games during the conflict.

Bastin returned to the Arsenal team after the war, but he only managed six more games before his leg injury forced him into retirement. During his time at the club he scored 176 goals in 392 league and cup games. After retiring from the game Bastin ran a public house in Exeter. Cliff Bastin died on 4th December 1991.


 

Reed Doughty with black paint across his nose and wearing a red American Football jersey.

Reed Doughty

Reed Doughty (born November 4, 1982) is an American football safety who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round, with the 173rd overall pick, of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Northern Colorado. Doughty has severe hearing loss and sometimes relies on lip reading to understand what others are saying.


Close up of Carl Morris lining up a shot on the pool table.

Carl Morris

'I can't hear a damn thing but look what I've gone and done. And if I've done it, so can you'."

Carl Morris has been a beneficiary of the positive power of pool, and is now an agent of it. Born deaf, Morris became eight-ball pool world champion in 1998. This is a testament clearly to his own endeavour but also to the meritocratic openness of one of Britain's favourite games. Now secretary of the International Professional Pool Players' Association (IPA), Morris is hoping to harness that inclusiveness and bring pool to the people.

"There are so many disabled people – not just deaf people – who have so many setbacks in life that they don't have any confidence left. And they start withdrawing into themselves, and become a hermit in some cases. I think that's a really sad thing. I want to go out there and say 'I can't hear a damn thing but look what I've gone and done. And if I've done it, so can you."


 

James Kyte on a ice rink wearing a yellow and black ice hockey outfit holding a hockey stick.

James Kyte

James G. Kyte (born March 21, 1964) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. Kyte made history by being the first (and to date, only) deaf National Hockey League (NHL) player, playing 598 games in the NHL. Jim Kyte was diagnosed with hereditary hearing loss at the age of 3. He wore a customised helmet with special flaps covering his ears to protect his hearing aids during games. Kyte’s playing career came to an unfortunate end when he suffered a concussion in an automobile accident in 1997 and was forced in to retirement.

Kyte is the son of former Canadian university athletic star John Kyte, St. Francis Xavier University's Athlete-of-the-Half-Century. Jim is also the brother of former Canadian track team member Aynslee Kyte.



Ian Redford sitting on grass, wearing a blue, red, and white Dundee FC jersey.

Ian Redford

Ian Petrie Redford (5 April 1960 – 10 January 2014) was a Scottish professional footballer, who played as a midfielder. Redford joined Rangers in February 1980 from Dundee for what was then a record Scottish fee of £210,000 and played for six seasons when Rangers won four domestic cup trophies. Redford went on to play for Dundee United during one of this club's most successful spells in its history and scored the winning goal against Borussia Monchengladbach in the semi final of the UEFA Cup in 1987. After retiring from football he provided fishing holidays in Perthshire. His autobiography 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head' was published in November 2013.


 

Brad Minns wearing red sweater standing behind tennis shop counter and holding his book.

Brad Minns

Meet Brad Minns, at the age of three he lost his hearing when he contracted a serious fever. His parents arranged for Brad to be fitted with hearing aids. He began playing sports and found that he had an interest in tennis. He went on to become one of the top junior players in his age division and received a scholarship at the University of Toledo as a walk on.

After college he went on to become the USA’s number one deaf tennis player and won numerous World Deaf Championships.


 

Black and white image of Alan Kilby in wrestling outfit.

Alan Kilby

Alan Kilby is a professional wrestler from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He was born in the 1940s and made his debut in the 1960s then went on to hold many British championships especially in the Mid-Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight classes. What made him particularly famous was the fact that he is deaf.


 

Matt Hamill in front of blackground. He is wearing black shorts and fighting gloves with UFC written on them.

Matt Hamill

Matt Hamill (born October 5, 1976) is an American mixed martial artists and wrestler who has competed in the Light Heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Hamill was born deaf and was the subject of a 2010 movie called The Hammer about his early life and wrestling career. He got his nickname 'The Hammer' after taking out a national champion in his first ever college wrestling match.


 

Derrick Coleman at Seattle Seahawks press conference wearing blue hoodie and white Seattle Seahawks cap.

Derrick Coleman

Derrick Coleman (born October 18, 1990) is an American football fullback in the National Football League (NFL). He is the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. Coleman was part of the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII championship team.


 

Ben Cohen in action scoring a try for the England national Rugby Union team.

Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen (born 14 September 1978) is a former England rugby union player. Cohen has 33% hearing loss in both ears and has been involved in making rugby more accessible to young deaf and hard-of-hearing players. Cohen was a member of the England national team that won the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

 

ashley fiolek.jpg

Ashley Fiolek

Ashley Fiolek is a retired professional motocross racer. She is Deaf and communicates via American Sign Language. Ashley won the Women's Motocross (WMX) Championship 4 times, in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Ashley attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind until eighth grade when her parents decided to start homeschooling her. Ashley retired in 2012, she has appeared in an episode of Switched at Birth and was the first Deaf guest to appear on Conan

 

 

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