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Friday, October 27, 2006

OSU Defensive Back - Sound of Silence

Watch this video and gain a ton of respect for Oklahoma State cornerback Martel Van Zant. Van Zant was born deaf after his mother contracted chicken pox during pregnancy. That has done little, however, to stop Van Zant on the football field. On the season he has 29 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.

Van Zant uses an interpreter who sits through team meetings and film sessions and signs the necessary information to Martel. Defensive calls are also signaled in by hand from the sidelines.

Although Van Zant cannot hear the roar of the crowd, he still feeds off its energy:
“Because of the noise and everything, I can feel the vibrations in my body. I can't hear the people, but I can see the people when they clap. I can see that, and it makes me get more motivated and play better.”
Obviously Husker fans will be reminded of former defensive tackle Kenny Walker who lettered for Nebraska during the 1989-1990 seasons. One of my greatest Nebraska memories was senior day 1990 when the Memorial Stadium crowd saluted Walker with arms outstretched and hands waving signifying the “deaf clap”. I still get chills now, just thinking about it.

Oh, and just to clarify for ABC:

Brady Quinn’s sister = Hackneyed (and a bit mannish)
Martel Van Zant = Human interest story