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Hearing-impaired NFL player makes no excuses

By Derrick Coleman, Special to CNN
updated 12:10 PM EST, Thu December 19, 2013
Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks says being hearing-impaired
Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks says being hearing-impaired "has made me who I am."
  • Derrick Coleman is a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks
  • "Excuses get you nowhere," Coleman says
  • The struggle with adversity is worth it, he says

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta profiles survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle -- injury, illness or other hardship -- they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week we meet Derrick Coleman, a fullback for the Seattle Seahawks -- the best team in the NFL, according to current rankings. He scored his first touchdown in the NFL on December 2. He's also the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL.

(CNN) -- As people hear about me being hard of hearing and making the best of it, the biggest thing that I want others to know is that excuses get you nowhere.

I know I've made some, but I was fortunate enough to have people in my corner who wouldn't let me use them. Whatever your dream is -- go for it. Any reason for you not getting it is just an excuse.

Life is hard as it is, but when you have it in your mind that no matter what your dream is, you will try your hardest to achieve it. Your life will be more enjoyable, and it will make the struggle worth it.

Ever since I can remember, I always played sports. Most people would say I wouldn't succeed, but I proved them wrong by finding ways to make it work -- by finding ways that helped me hear and put me in a position to succeed.

Was it easy? No, but it was worth it.

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If you ask me what I'm most proud of, it's not just playing football in the NFL; it's graduating from Troy High School and from UCLA with a political science degree. I could have easily made excuses as to why I couldn't do my work and blamed it on not being able to hear well, but I didn't.

Some people ask me, do I wish that I had normal hearing like everyone else, and honestly looking back at my life now, I would say no.

Being hearing-impaired/deaf has made me who I am. The struggle, pain, tears, happiness and joy has put me in the position where I am today.

Don't let adversity define who you are. Let how you respond to diversity be who you are.

Find a way.

No excuses.

It will be worth it. It was for me.

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