Shattering Stigmas: HearStrong Champion Shares his Journey with Hearing Loss at the NFLPA National Convention

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At the 2018 NFLPA National Former Players Convention, Mitchell Dolinar was honored as a HearStrong Champion with help of former pro player, James Harrell

Ed Keller, founder of HearStrong, with Mitch and his parents

The individual that inspires me the most, after my faith and my family, is Derrick Coleman. He is an elite player and he never let the inability to hear stop him.

On March 13, 2018, HearStrong joined the NFL Players Association’s national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. This annual event attracts former professional football players from across the nation. There, Mitchell Dolinar, a student athlete and humanitarian, shared his journey with hearing loss and was recognized as a HearStrong Champion. Former player, James Harrell, helped recognize him and was named as an ambassador for the organization.

HearStrong began five years ago with a mission to radically challenge the general perception of hearing loss and hearing aids and inspire a mass hearing healthcare awareness movement. This movement is very important to Mitchell (Mitch), as hearing loss advocacy is a huge part of his life. In fact, he was one of the first children in Wyoming to be identified with a hearing loss in 1999 through an early newborn screening program.

Today, Mitch is an outstanding student and four year letterman in three sports. He is the Student Body President at his school, and participates in humanitarian endeavors. He has traveled to Guatemala to help install water purification systems in homes, and will travel to Peru in summer 2018.

Through it all, Mitch has had a great role model to inspire him.

"The individual that inspires me the most, after my faith and my family, is Derrick Coleman," says Mitch. "He was the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. He motivates me because I know how hard it is to overcome hearing loss on the playing field, and he did it. He is an elite player and he never let the inability to hear stop him. I have grown up watching him succeed and he inspires me to believe I can do the same."

Former NFL players have played an important role in HearStrong’s mission and many have been named as HearStrong ambassadors, including Derrick Coleman. During Tuesday’s ceremony, James Harrell, NFLPA Florida chapter president and former linebacker who played nine seasons in the NFL, was named as a celebrity ambassador and helped celebrate Mitch.

With outstanding advocates like Mitch, HearStrong can continue to break down barriers and increase hearing loss awareness for the 38 million individuals with untreated hearing loss!

Do you know someone who should be named as a HearStrong Champion? To nominate a HearStrong Champion or learn more about how you can get involved with the organization, visit hearstrong.org

About HearStrong:     
HearStrong is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that seeks to shatter the stereotypes surrounding hearing loss and its advanced solutions by honoring the accomplishments of those who have overcome hearing loss and inspire others to do the same. Supported by the dedication of EarQ providers, the organization is a worldwide advocate for hearing loss awareness, education and support. For more information about HearStrong, or to nominate a HearStrong Champion, please visit hearstrong.org or contact 866-432-7500

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Carly Allen
EarQ
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