Deafness no barrier to Mitchell's rugby dreams

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014
STOKED: Deaf rugby player Morgan Mitchell will make his debut for the Southland Stags against Mid Canterbury in Oamaru tomorrow.
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ

MILESTONE: Morgan Mitchell made his Stags National Provincial Championship debut on Saturday against Manawatu in Palmerston North.

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It is almost silence for Morgan Mitchell when he takes to the rugby field.

He hopes his lip reading skills can get him through a game but the reality is it is tough. Morgan Mitchell is deaf.

It is a disability which could hold people back, but the 21-year-old Southlander wants to highlight to everyone that being deaf should not put a line through your dreams.

He's doing a good job in that quest.

This week Mitchell was included in the Southland Stags national provincial championship squad for the first time. Tomorrow the young prop will make his debut against Mid Canterbury in Oamaru in a preseason game.

For Mitchell it is a special time.

He admits to being disillusioned at times, thinking his deafness had held him back with his rugby.

Now though, he says there is a different mindset as he ponders his hearing disability.

''To be honest I've now got self belief. I can go tell people nothing is impossible, you've just got to have self-belief,'' he said.

''I was in a bit of a negative mood because I always thought my deafness held me back from making teams. Now I can tell people it can happen.''

It has not been an easy task for the former Gore High School pupil to make his mark on the field - given what obstacles he has had in front of him which other budding young players do not.

''In a game I try lip read, but they have basically got to be front on. I can hear the odd whistle, but I just can't hear if anybody is behind me to be honest.''

Away from rugby Mitchell is helped by a hearing aid, but that comes off during game.

He was hopeful help was on its way to ensure he can one day play with his hearing aid in.

''I've learned to lip read since I was young, so that has helped me out a lot. But now Rugby Southland is trying to sort me out a wee cap, hopefully I will be able to wear my hearing aid. That would make a big difference."

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- The Southland Times

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