Kaylin is almost entirely deaf and her parents found out about her hearing loss when she was two years old. But Kaylin has overcome more than just her hearing loss. She also had two dislocated hips at birth. The doctors told Kaylin she would never be able to walk.
After two hip operations and 16 months in a body cast, Kaylin learned to walk and even play golf as a young girl. She discovered that golf is her passion and continued to play golf into college.
Kaylin received a scholarship to play for Campbell University. While there she won four individual titles and was a two-time Big South Conference player of the year. She turned pro in 2014. Kaylin is looking forward to making history as one of the first golf players for the Deaflympics. Although Kaylin won’t be wearing her hearing aids while out on the course, she will be representing Phonak with her favorite character Leo the Lion as her golf club cover.
“I’m thrilled to represent Team USA for women’s golf and to have Phonak support me at the Deaflympics in Turkey,” says Kaylin. “This will be the first year the Deaflympics is hosting golf and being selected to represent my country is both an honor and a privilege. My plan is to bring home the gold medal. But no matter what happens, I want kids to know that being deaf or wearing hearing aids should never stop you from achieving your dreams. And I’m so excited to have Leo the Lion along with me to help spread that message.”
The Deaflympics is an event for deaf and hard of hearing athletes to compete against other athletes from around the world at an elite level. The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) supports and coordinates this event. The organization is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This year will be the 23rd Summer Deaflympics starting today in Samsun, Turkey.
The Deaflympics go back to 1924. The first games took place in Paris, France with nine countries competing. The original name was International Silent Games. This was the first set of Games for any group of people with disabilities. It is also the second oldest Games, even older than the Paralympics.
To compete in the Deaflympics you must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels (dB) or greater in your ear that hears the best. This means about a moderate-severe hearing loss or worse in both ears. Athletes cannot wear their hearing aids or cochlear implants during the competitions.
All communication is visual. Instead of buzzers and whistles, there are light flashers and flags. This enables athletes to understand what is going on during the game.
We look forward to seeing Kaylin play during Turkey this week! Use the hashtag #deaflympics2017 to keep up with all the happenings of the Games!