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December 14, 2004

Deaf teen plays ball for Mohave varsity team

From: Casa Grande Valley Newspapers - Casa Grande,AZ,USA - Dec 14, 2004

Wire Services, Associated Press
December 14, 2004

It was then that the now 18-year-old Mohave High School senior decided she wanted to play basketball. Andrews' game is so good that she made the varsity squad as a sophomore. Yet, for all she has accomplished, she can't hear the roar of the crowd when she sinks a shot. Nor is she distracted as fans from the opposing team make noise when she's at the foul line.

Deaf since birth, Andrews hasn't let her lack of hearing prevent her from playing hoops. "I don't see her not being able to hear holding her back from anything," Mohave coach Nicki Boyes said.

Andrews, who estimates she's 75 percent deaf, can hear loud noises and high frequencies. She communicates with her teammates and coaches through sign language interpreter Johnny Cox. She also passes notes on occasion.

She knows when a referee blows a whistle because everyone around her stops playing. The buzzer is generally loud enough for her to hear. Boyes also signals in plays when Andrews is on the court.

"It's just a matter of learning to adapt," Boyes said.

However, Andrews has to be constantly aware of what's going on around her, especially during the heat of a close game.

"It's really hard sometimes for me to know what's going on," Andrews said through Cox, her interpreter for the past two years. "I can't hear what's going on behind me, so I have to look around and see."

Her teammates and coaches know some sign language and use it to help them communicate.

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