Making Noise: Cameron's William Warner - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Making Noise: Cameron's William Warner

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Cameron (WQOW) -- The Cameron football team is off to an undefeated season.  As you can imagine, there is plenty of cheering at a Comets game.

But sophomore defensive tackle William Warner can't hear any of those cheers. William was born deaf.

To better communicate with William, a number of the coaches have used some simple sign language, and all of the plays are called using hand signals.  This season, William is a key contributor on the field.

"You know, not everybody is the same," says Cameron head coach Bob Bowerman, "it's just as easy to communicate with him as it is everybody else. You just have to do it in a different manner."

William Warner says, "I want people to think that deaf people can play football with hearing people. I just want people to know that if you work hard, you can do it and be part of the team."

Warner's parents say for years, their son struggled to fit in, but then he found sports.

"He knew he was deaf, but it was owning that deafness was where he started to pick up," say the Warner parents, "once he accepted that I'm deaf and it doesn't matter, then he kind of took off."

William says, "I like hitting. I really enjoy it, it's a lot of fun. I just like to tackle people. During practice, during the game, I just love to tackle people."

At first, there were plenty of communication issues, but William, his teammates, and his coaches have all adapted.

William Warner says, "the first game I felt frustrated... Last year, sometimes, I didn't know what to do, I didn't know the plays, I didn't know the right way to go. But this year, it's been better."

"We've just treated William as a football player," says Bowerman, "are there a few things communication-wise that are different? Yeah. It seems like it should be difficult, but it's really not.  You can't even say William has a disability. He's a football player and it doesn't matter if he can hear or not."

"I want people to think that deaf people can play football with hearing people," says William Warner, "we can all be on a team together. And I just want people to know that if you work hard, you can do it and be part of the team."

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