Football Team Raises Funds For Deaf Child To Play - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Football Team Raises Funds For Deaf Child To Play

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FRANKLIN, Mass. -

Set, hut.

Eight, nine and ten year olds on the Franklin Charger's Pop Warner team are learning about the game of football and also about how to be part of a team. Anyone who has been on a team knows that a key part is learning how to communicate and follow instructions.

But for number 47, when the coaches yell out a play, he only hears silence.

Nine year old Kyle Florio has been deaf since birth. He was born with the love of football. Kyle's parents are also deaf and they wanted their son to be able to play sports just like all the other kids. So they supported his decision when he wanted to join the Pop Warner league.

"I feel like it's a little different. Most of the time, feels just normal," says Kyle through an interpreter.

This year mark the third year Kyle has been drafted by the Charger's as a defensive back. And thanks to his team's generosity, they have raised thousands of dollars every year to make sure Kyle has an interpreter right there on the field with him, putting Kyle on a level playing field with everyone else.

"It's really nice to have an interpreter there. Have full communication access, full enjoyment. It's almost like a sense of equity among the players, says Steve Florio, Kyle's father, through an interpreter.

One way they've been able to simplify communication for Kyle is to assign each play a number. That way, the interpreter only needs to sign a number and Kyle knows what to do. Kyle wears a wrist band with the plays and their corresponding numbers written out for him. He's also learned how to use his disability as an ability because it forces him to make full use of all of his other senses.

"He may notice more movement; may be giving him more cues or hints of what's coming at him. He might be able to break to the play sooner. There's some advantages," says Steve Florio.

"If a player is out of position, he'll go and help him in his right position and help get him in his right alignment. It's unbelievable," says the coach.

"He's a good catcher. He's good at getting hand offs and he's just a good friend," says a teammate.

So far, the team has raised over $2,000 of the $3,600 they need for an interpreter. They're holding another fund-raiser tomorrow.

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