By Katie Wilken
The game of basketball has always had a great appeal to fans,
coaches, but especially players. They enjoy the action and thrill of
the game. Although the game can be easily played by amateurs,
basketball has a large professional side to it as well.
The sport is enjoyed by communities all over the world. This is true
of the Deaf community as well. A Deaf person has two choices when he
wants to play the game. He can either compete in a Deaf league where
rules are made to make it fair for those playing. Or one can play in
Hearing divisions. Although a Deaf person may face more challenges
playing in a Hearing basketball game than in a Deaf league, there
are advantages to either, and one can see this by looking at both
sides of the spectrum.
One major Deaf league is the DIBF. The DIBF or the Deaf
International Basketball Federation was founded Friday, July, 27th
2001. Before then Deaf basketball had been centered mainly around
the Deaflympics. This organization also has many other sports which
Deaf compete in, but at that time there was not an international
organization for the Deaf to compete in. A meeting came about which
would start to turn the wheels in the international world of Deaf
basketball. In the meeting the participants concurred that the Deaf
community needed a governing body in which to improve the standard
for the competition in this division of the sport (DIBF).
The rules that govern the DIBF even the playing field, and maintain
the original goals of the league. First, hearing aids and cochlear
implants are not allowed on the court during competition, as they
can cause an unfair advantage among the players. If one is found to
be wearing one of these devices they will be ejected from the game.
Secondly, the players involved with the organization must have a
hearing loss of 55 decibels of more. Thirdly, one or both of the
refs should be Deaf, but this is not necessarily a requirement. And
lastly, no restrictions are placed on signing, except that just like
hearing games there should be no foul communication.
Looking at this league we can see how this and many other Deaf
leagues can open a whole new world for the Deaf in the area of
basketball, but on the other side we can see how Deaf become
involved in Hearing basketball games, and how adaptations can be
made to accommodate these players, and what they must overcome in
order to play this level.
An example of this is Micheal Lizarraga. He is the only Deaf athlete
competing in NCAA Division I Men's basketball. Sometimes Deaf are
misunderstood by others on the team and the coaching staff, such as
Lance Allred, but in the case of Lizarraga that is far from the
truth (Mike). He has not only succeeded in playing the game, as this
year he has started eight games and averaged 2.3 points and 2.2
rebounds. But also he has opened many athletes', coaches', and fans'
eyes to the Deaf community and the amazing world of American Sign
One way or another a Deaf person can greatly enjoy the game of
basketball, whether that be playing in a league specifically for the
Deaf or playing in a Hearing person's league. The camaraderie of teamwork
and a strong work ethic can be obtained through this sport either way.
About Us - History." DIBF About Us - History. Web. 14 May 2012.
Fitzpatrick, Lauren. "Deaf Basketball Rules." LIVESTRONG.COM. 29 May
2010. Web. 14 May 2012.
"Mike Responts: The Blog." Mike Responts: The Blog. 17 Mar. 2008.
Web. 15 May 2012.Markazi, Arash.
"Deaf Player's Teammates See Inspiration." Sports.espn.go.com. ESPN
LA, 13 Mar. 2010. Web. 15 May 2012.
Also see: Basketball and
the Deaf (2)
You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars