Hearing loss won’t stop these little footballers

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The AFL grand final is coming up fast – and so are these little AFL players’ big futures!

While West Coast and Collingwood prepare to face off at the AFL grand final, our own Professor Marcus Atlas kicked the footy with some well deserving kids from Auskick not too long ago.

But this was a special game. All the kids on the field had hearing loss, and our own Professor Marcus Atlas served as umpire. The fun kicked off at half time during the Fremantle Dockers vs Carlton Blues game, when dozens of local kids took to the field.

The event was put on to show that hearing loss is not a barrier. Many children with hearing loss experience isolation, and local organisations aim to build support networks and encourage participation.

One of the parents commented on how fun the event was for their child: "It was the most friendly, inclusive and positive experience that we have been part of in the local community to date. Thank you so much for making my special little guy so happy."

Professor Atlas has a soft spot for getting the community involved with football. At this year’s Gift of Hearing Appeal Charity Dinner, Marcus, supporters and friends John Schaffer, Jim Litis, and Chris and Anthea Somas donated four premium ‘Field Club’ tickets to see West Coast take on the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Perth’s new Optus Stadium.

Professor Atlas shared what it means to be active in the community: “The support we get from the community is very rewarding because it feels as though people are saying they care about what we do at Ear Science, and I feel that, and our researchers feel that also - it gives us a sense of pride that what we are doing is worthwhile and acknowledged by the community but it also reinforces the feeling that it is our duty to do our supporters proud.”