Deaf football player shining at Kilgore College

Deaf football player shining at Kilgore College

October 28, 2014

By Ryan Peterson


Kilgore College freshman Demontrai Lewis

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) – Kilgore College defensive end Demontrai Lewis makes a big play and the crowd goes wild. Lewis can’t hear a thing. What he can’t hear, he can see and feel.

“He can watch the stands and the people, he knows when they get excited,” Lewis signed to his interpreter Charlene Burleson. “Especially when I make a big play.”

Deaf since the age of 3, Lewis has never let his disability slow him down on the football field.

“I love football with all my heart,” Lewis said.

The former Lufkin Panther has shined with the Rangers as a freshman. But it’s also been a challenge. An interpreter can give Lewis the defensive play call. But if a change is made on the field, Lewis is at a disadvantage.

“It’s not hard to understand what to do,” said Lewis. “I know every play. It is hard sometimes on the field. He needs direction.”

Lewis has plenty of support. Burleson is with him in the classroom. Wesley Malcolm translates for Lewis on the football field.

“All of the people at Kilgore College have accepted me,” said Lewis.

Burleson has been impressed with Lewis on and off the field.

“He’s a very polite and respectful young man,” said Burleson. “I admire him very much.”

Lewis admits others have doubted him along the way. He’s always ready to prove them wrong.

“I want to be the first deaf player to go to the NFL and make the Hall of Fame,” said Lewis.


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