GCU deaf athletic trainer hopes to inspire others

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As students return back to school, it is also a return to fall season college athletics. This year will be 24-year-old Sean Stoeppel's debut as an athletic trainer at Grand Canyon University.

United States News, United States Headlines

The Grand Canyon University women’s soccer team begins its season Thursday night hosting Mississippi State, where 24-year-old Sean Stoeppel will debut as the team’s athletic trainer.He was born deaf and needed cochlear implants to hear anything. He received his first implant at 13 months, and in the seventh grade got bilateral cochlear implants, meaning both the left and right ear.

“I couldn’t do a hearing aid,” Stoeppel said. “I had no hearing. Hearing aids only amplify what you have. I have nothing.”Born into a sports family, he couldn’t play football or another sport with a helmet without major risks, so his audiologist suggested soccer.He played in college and was even selected to represent the United States on the deaf national team. In May he graduated as Doctor Stoeppel from Indiana State University with a degree in athletic training.

“Cochlear implants afforded me the opportunity to hear and communicate in a society that functions at a very high level,” Stoeppel said. “To say I’m part of that high level is something I’m never taking for granted.”“Ignorance is a big thing in society. It’s unfortunate and I’ve been on the rough end of it so many times, but to be able to still overcome and be willing to advocate, educate, I think it’s something we all need to do just a little bit more,” Stoeppel said.

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