That's what Paul Szemborski Jr.'s football coaches reluctantly told him one day before practice. But Paul was no ordinary teenage boy. He wasn’t going to let his hearing loss stop him from being on the field. With the support of his family, friends and teammates, Paul made the life-changing decision to visit Susan Bolgiano at Clear Choice Hearing Solutions, an EarQ provider in Jasper, TX, to be fitted for hearing aids. He hasn’t looked back since.
“My first football practice with my hearing aids was like a dream come true,” said Paul. “I almost cried because I was able to really communicate and interact with my teammates.”
In January, Susan Bolgiano nominated Paul to be named a HearStrong Champion, the award presented by The HearStrong Foundation. The foundation, which recognizes the accomplishments of those who have overcome hearing loss, was so impressed with Paul and his inspirational story that it decided to honor Paul in a big way.
Utilizing its sponsor relationship with The NFL Players Association, the HearStrong Foundation arranged to hold Paul’s official HearStrong Champion award ceremony on February 2nd, during the NFL Players Association’s annual Smocks & Jocks Jazz Brunch and Art Auction, an event that raised funds for the Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust Fund and the Terence Blanchard & Robin Burgess Endowment for Jazz Studies at the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts.
Before members of the association, special guests and members of Paul’s family, Andre Collins, director of former players services for the NFL Players Association, and Ed Keller, CEO of The HearStrong Foundation, presented Paul with his HearStrong Champion gold medal and certificate.
“Paul is a remarkable young man,” said Keller. “His story will surely impact the way people view hearing loss, who it affects and how important it is to overcome.”
To learn more about Paul and The HearStrong Foundation, visit www.hearstrong.org.