At Hearing Healthcare Centre we are excited about the prospect of working closely with the England Deaf Rugby teams. We hope to get involved with both the men’s and ladies’ teams and to that end we have been following their progress with much interest.
Members of the ladies national team recently made a trip to Cardiff to take on local team Penalta Minerbirds. They had hoped to play to the Welsh national side but when they were unable to put a team together the Minerbirds, an accomplished local team, stepped in. Despite being their first ever competitive 12-a-side game, the England Deaf ladies soon stamped their authority on the match and finished worthy winners with a 22 – 12 score line.
The England Ladies Team trains regularly in Hitchin. Members range in age from 20 to 45 and they must have the same level of deafness as in the men’s game which is an average of 25Db loss in each ear. Some members have hearing aids, others cochlear implants but there are also lip-readers and sign language users.
England Captain Gina Iaquaniello explained what it means to be part of the team: “For some of us, it’s the only time we meet, play, socialise with other deaf people and it’s great being with people who just get it.” Squad member Bex Francis added: “Being part of England Deaf rugby has meant I have come to terms with my disability. I am in an environment where I don’t feel bad for asking someone to repeat something I haven’t heard or speaking up a bit. The girls all understand as well and I’ve made some of the best mates through my involvement with the team.”
With such a ringing endorsement of England Deaf Rugby and what it does for the deaf community we look forward to working closely with both teams going forward.
To see this report in full and for further details of the England Ladies squad visit http://slfirst.co.uk/deaf-sport/sport/nurture-and-dedication-key-to-development-of-england-deaf-ladies-rugby/