Deaf Kyle Athlete Attends International Sporting Event

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By CJ Vetter

KYLE – Overcoming adversity is a daily reality for the deaf community. But for a local athlete, he is up to the challenge.

Jeffery Courtney, a local deaf athlete, is set to attend the 2022 Deaflympics, an international competition for the deaf community, spanning many different sports with teams from around the world. Courtney is a recognized member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and holds a Medal of Courage for her accomplishments. He flew away in numerous tournaments and is a two-time state champion. Courtney comes from a long line of wrestlers and has been wrestling since she was three years old.

“My father, Donald Milton Courtney, started this tradition in the 60s at the Fairmont WV. he won the 1970 state championship, and then my older brother, Christopher Donald Courtney, won his state championship in 1993,” Courtney said. “Then my second oldest brother, Ryan Scott Courtney, was a two-time state champion in 1996 and 1997. Then I’m the baby of my family and I’m a two-time state champion in 2001 and 2002.”

Prior to his retirement, Jeffery was the head coach of the Texas School For The Deaf wrestling program, as well as a residential dormitory counselor at Michigan School For The Deaf, where he also hosted that school’s wrestling program. One of the main reasons Courtney is coming out of retirement is to help kids in the deaf community get excited about sports and motivate them to be more outgoing.

“I would love to see deaf kids involved in something they love,” Courtney said. “Right now I have two beautiful deaf daughters and I don’t want to see them fall into the same pattern as today, where they only want to play together to socialize. I would like to see them develop their love in sports. So, I decided to come out of retirement and go to the Deaflympics to show them what it’s like. “

Jeffery will leave this Saturday, April 23 for West Virginia, where he will train in his family’s gym before flying to Miami and then Brazil. He plans to reach Brazil by May 4 and will compete May 10-14. He will join nine other Deaf athletes to form Team USA. However, Courtney’s wife and children will not be present. Holly Courtney has been married to Jeffery for nearly 15 years and will be honoring their anniversary while Jeffery is in Brazil.

“He will be in Brazil on our anniversary, which is the 12th, but that’s okay. It’s a huge honor for him to attend the Deaflympics and represent our country and the deaf community,” Holly said. has a goal and he likes to go big and go for it.”

Holly points to the recent attention the deaf community has received from activists like Nyle DiMarco, the 2015 winner of America’s Next Top Model, and the 2021 film CODA, which covers the struggles of parents raising a deaf child, such as signs that the deaf community is becoming recognized.

“You know, the Olympics themselves are a huge business and the athletes are mostly sponsored,” Holly said. “So with the Deaflympics, we’re not as recognized as them. But I believe that will change one day. “

Currently, Jeffery is looking to raise funds to cover the costs of his wrestling gear and other clothing items, such as team jerseys, wrestling shoes, hoodies, joggers, and gear packs. . Those who donate to the cause will be featured on the team’s social media page. Donations are also qualified tax exemptions, and receipts can be provided upon request. The goal is to raise $4,000 before the games end.

When asked what he liked most about Kyle, he said he found his welcoming and friendly people made him feel like home.

“I would say the people in Kyle are the friendliest people in the state! I don’t feel like an outcast from them,” Jeffery said. “For example, the pie company is one of my favorite places to stop and have a pie. They don’t need a piece of paper and a pen to communicate as they are good at body language or gestures. In my opinion, these are the best pies I have ever had! »

For more information or to learn more about Deaflympics events, you can visit www.usdeafsports.org. If you would like to contact Jeffery about possible donations, you can email him at [email protected]

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