High School Football Player Overcomes Hearing Loss, Finds Success on Gridiron

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A junior at St. John’s College High School in D.C. hasn’t let hearing loss prevent him from playing on one of the best high school football teams in the nation.

Shane Messenger was born with hearing loss in both ears.

“Probably one of my bigger everyday challenges,” he said.

The kicker hopes to play for a Division I program in college.

“When I was younger, my thing I loved the most was always football,” he said. “I’m just always watching football, spent a lot of my Sundays just watching football growing up.”

But doctors gave his family bad news.

“They did tell us that he would not be able to play any contact sports because it could cause him to go completely deaf just from one hit,” said his mother, Eileen Messenger.


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He took up kicking, because there’s less risk of being tackled.

He says hearing aids help, but they don’t always work all the way across the field.  

“On the kickoff when they blow the whistle, I have to ask somebody around me if they blew the whistle or not,” Messenger said. “There’s been times where there was miscommunication.”

Messenger also was born with knee problems, requiring seven surgeries to fix them.

He’s thriving on the football field and earned player-of-the-game recognition twice this season.

“Definitely happy that I’m here, playing the game at a high level like I always wanted to,” he said. “There’s things in life that get in the way. You just gotta find a way to keep going.”

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