Deaf Seahawks running back inspires hearing-impaired girl

Posted at 12:36 PM, Jan 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-23 12:40:21-05

A New Jersey girl’s letter to Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman has gone viral after her father tweeted it, tagging Coleman and the Super Bowl-bound team.

“You’ve inspired my little girls in a way I never could. THANK YOU!” wrote father Jake Kovalcik in a tweet posted Tuesday morning.

In the letter, his daughter calls Coleman her inspiration, in part because of one characteristic they share: they’re both hearing impaired.

According to the New York Daily News, the girl was identified as 9-year-old Riley Kovalcik of Roxbury, N.J. She has a twin sister Erin, who also has been hearing impaired for most of her life, the newspaper reported.

Coleman, who is deaf, responded with his own handwritten letter, which he tweeted out Wednesday afternoon.

“Really was great hearing from a fan I have so much in common with,” Coleman wrote.

“I want you to know that I always try my best in everything I do and have faith in you & your twin sister too… Even though we wear hearing aids, we can still accomplish our goals & dreams.”

Coleman’s triumphant journey from deaf young football player to NFL running back was the subject of a 60-second commercial for battery-maker Duracell that’s been watched more than 9 million times on YouTube.

“They told me it couldn’t be done, that I was a lost cause,” Coleman says in the commercial.

“They gave up on me, told me I should just quit,” he says, then refers to being passed over in the 2012 NFL draft.

“But I’ve been deaf since I was 3, so I didn’t listen,” Coleman says. “Now I’m here, with a lot of fans in the NFL cheering me on. And I can hear them all.”

The Seahawks face the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 in New Jersey.

“After we saw the battery commercial on Derrick Coleman and the 20th’s game, I was very inspired,” Riley told the New York Daily News. “Now I’m looking forward to seeing the Super Bowl.”