T.J. Ellison (pictured) is an unstoppable opponent on the football field despite being deaf. The teen, who attends Clarke Central High School in Athens, Ga., is held in the highest regard by his coaches and teammates for his can-do and non-defeatist attitude, which they say is infectious, according to My Fox Atlanta.
Even though Ellison was born deaf, he has no time for wallowing in self-pity and tries hard to make the best out of every difficult situation that confronts him. At first, playing football was not without its challenges. Since the defensive lineman has difficulty communicating, it was not easy getting through to his teammates and coaches but he just kept working at it.
Now, Ellison and his team are on the same page, and they understand him, so the communication portion is ever-present even on the turf. The young player says he actually uses his teammates as his ears on the playing field. He tells My Fox Atlanta, “If they hear the coach change a call, they let me know.” And Ellison’s coaches are on the same page as well, “My defensive coaches always have hand signals, so that’s how I get my signals on the field.”
Not only is Ellison a showman as a gridiron player, but he is also a solid wrestler. In addition, Ellison excels in academics.
Being deaf hasn’t seemed to stop Ellison from putting his best foot forward in everything he tackles. “I’ve proven that my disability hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love,” Ellison told My Fox Atlanta. Ellison also wants to inspire others who are in his situation to still dream despite the cards they’ve been dealt. ”My motto is no matter how hard something is, just remember one thing that helps you get through it. I want to be able to show we are capable no matter what.”
Ellison’s playing skills and love of football will not stop at the high school level; he plans on playing the game in college. The teen also aspires to one day become a high school history teacher and football coach.
Ellison, keep reaching for those stars, they’re yours for the taking!