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Deaf Is.. Sports

Sports Desk PersonDeaf people are interested in many different kinds of sports and enjoy playing them. In fact, some deaf athletes can become professionals if that is their goal.

They need to work hard and practice, just like hearing athletes. Deaf people have different skills too.

Check out the pro athletes links on this page for more information.

How do you know when the referee blows the whistle?

Deaf people continue to play sports until the timer buzzes or the referees stop the players. The deaf players know that the referee will stop them at the right time. Deaf players may not know they've fouled or been penalized. They keep playing until the referee calls them.


In swimming, hearing people use sounds to start the race. Deaf swimmers can watch the light flash near the pool to let them know to start swimming right away.


William “Dummy” Hoy was a professional baseball player who happened to be deaf. He was the first deaf player in Major League Baseball.

He couldn’t understand the umpire calling balls and strikes, so he invented the signals umpires use today to call balls, strikes and outs.

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In track, hearing people can hear the 'bang' from the starting gun to running, but deaf people cannot hear the bang. Instead, the referee waves their hand or a flag to signal when the starting gun goes off.

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In football, Paul D. Hubbard created the huddle where the team players discuss the next football play. But how do the players hear the "HUT" part?

The team manager or assistant coach uses a drum to make a loud noise for "hut 1...hut 2." The deaf players can feel the vibrations from the drum.