Jack is profoundly deaf however he has shown his disability has not stopped him participating in his favourite game. Jack’s football club North East Sport, a local FA Charter Standard Club based in Sunderland has shown that Football for All is what grassroots football is all about.
We sat down with Jack’s dad Paul to find out more.
“My son Jack plays for North East Sports Juventus and they currently play in the Under-8s age group of the Russell Foster Youth League.” said Jack’s dad Paul.
“The team was formed approximately a year ago following training sessions held by North East Sports. One of the parents has taken on coaching the team, encouraging the children to play as a team whilst developing their skills and furthering their love for the game.”
“Jack has played football since he could walk, going to Foundation of Light Little Dribblers sessions, holiday football coaching and then with North East Sports coaching sessions. He's played regularly since the age of four-years-old.”
“Jack is profoundly deaf, since birth, but he doesn't let his disability stop him achieving his dreams. At one-years-old, he received cochlear implants which enable him to access sounds which we affectionately call his ‘magic ears’.”
“They do not offer 'normal' hearing, but give him sound, which has enabled him to develop fluent speech. However, as implants don't replace his hearing, he struggles in noisy settings, in places where sound echoes and also it can take him longer to take in and understand instructions.“
“His coaches appreciate Jack's needs and take the time to ensure he has understood what has been said. They wear a Roger FM microphone which transmits sound straight to Jack's cochlear implant processors which reduces background noise and assist when trying to communicate across a football pitch. The coaches treat Jack exactly the same as his hearing peers. They make sure they understand his disability whilst ensuring this doesn't affect their inclusion of him.”
“He's a popular, happy and well-loved member of the team. This offers so much reassurance to us as parents, knowing that he isn't treated any differently despite his disability.”
“For Jack, he doesn't see that his disability affects the one thing he loves the most ... football.”