The Gallaudet University football team is chasing perfection and gaining fans all across the country this season.
It's the only university with programs designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Recently, Washington Redskins safety Reed Doughty took in a game after being named an honorary captain for the Bison. Doughty suffers from hearing loss himself.
“Most of it is just reaction and snap count and they have a lot of sign language, which is what we really use on the field, but theirs is much more intricate,” Doughty said. “It was really cool to see. They played hard. They looked like a really solid football team.”
“We don't consider this more of a challenge,” senior running back Ryan Bonheyo said. “It’s just that's in us. This is how we communicate with each other on the field. I think it's more of an advantage for us because we can communicate with each other in ASL on the field and the other teams cannot understand us.”
These players understand they don't just represent the football program and Gallaudet University, they represent each and every deaf person and hard of hearing person across the world.
“This just proves that deaf people can do anything,” senior wide receiver Josh Hanna said. “I know that many people had doubt in us – deaf people can't do this or deaf people can’t do this, or it has to be hearing people -- but I think this has proved that deaf people can do anything.”
Never before has the Division III program had a chance at perfection. This weekend with a victory against their rival Maritime, Gallaudet would cap off an undefeated season.
“It’s definitely a lot more people are talking about it,” sophomore quarterback Todd Bonheyo said. “More people are aware of our success, and it’s very nice to get all the attention to be honest.”
“Our goal is to win on Saturday,” Coach Chuck Goldstein said. “It just happens to be 10-0. And again, in the future, people will look back at Gallaudet University, at the 2013 team, and say that was the best team ever on campus.”