Tennessee School for the Deaf celebrates homecoming
The football and volleyball teams are prepping for games against other deaf schools from around the country.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It’s homecoming weekend for the Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD) and they are welcoming three other deaf schools to Knoxville to compete in volleyball and football.
Head Football Coach Bryan Bowen said they take different approaches when playing to get around the barrier of not being able to hear.
“We are very creative on how to navigate through different plays,” said Bowen.
He said one way they communicate on the field is through visual cues. An innovation from a deaf team led to one of the most universal practices in sports.
In 1894, the Gallaudet football team played against another deaf school. In order to not allow their opponent to see the plays they were signing, quarterback Paul Hubbard instructed his team to form a tight circle and created the “huddle.”
Strategies like that, along with sharp vision, are key for deaf athletes.
“They are very good at reading the movements and watching the ball and seeing how other players are moving,” said Head Volleyball Coach Jessica Holton. “They catch a lot of that visually, and it just works. We’re just used to it.”
Holton said TSD teams play both deaf and hearing schools, but playing against other deaf schools is an opportunity to make connections and meet people with whom they can relate.
”So, it is a big deal when we can play against other deaf schools,” said Holton. “When they come here we show our pride in a big way.”
Bowen said his expectations are high and his players are ready to win.
“They fight consistently and to the very last second,” said Bowen.
TSD will take on the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf and the Georgia School for the Deaf on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in volleyball. That evening the football team will play the Mississippi School for the Deaf at 6 p.m..
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