Interpreter helps deaf football player to success

January 15, 2009 10:14:41 AM PST
The role of sign language interpreters is to break down communication barriers for people who are deaf.But some relationships are more demanding than others, like in the case of a northwest suburban high school football player.

It's all about team work when it comes to football. This is why Anthony Maginity and his interpreter, Racheal Griffin, are such great partners

Eighteen-year-old Maginity is a senior at John Hersey High School. Although Hersey is not his local high school, he enrolled there because of their deaf program and football.

"Because my school doesn't have a deaf program, so I heard about this school from a friend. And she said that this school is great, so I decided to come here and observe the program," Maginity said. "Since I was little, I love football, I just couldn't stop playing."

Prior to joining Hersey's football team, his biggest concern was communication.

"Because I was used to playing football with my dad as an interpreter, so this was my first time having a real interpreter on the field," Maginity said.

Sports fan and staff interpreter Griffin said it was not easy being part of the team.

"There's a lot of verbal communication that happens during football. You have the quarterback that's doing an audible call. You have teammates communicating on the line with each other about what's the play or how they're going to move," said Griffin.

Coach Mark Gunther said Maginity and Griffin had a unique relationship.

"I think communicating with Anthony has been really smooth in fact we don't even notice that there's a communication gap," said Gunther.

"My experience would be different because if I never met her, I don't think I would have been more close to my teammates because Racheal can relate to me and she understands my perspective and she interprets and communication is smooth with my teammates and between us," said Maginity.

And that relationship will soon change as Maginity will be graduating this spring.

"Racheal's not going to college with me unless something happens, but probably not. I decided I'm going to go to RIT in New York. It's Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. I probably won't be playing football. I'm going to focus on my major," Maginity said.

He said he wants to become a civil engineer. Hopefully he'll find an interpreter like Griffin in Rochester. If you are interested in being a sign language interpreter, check out:

Columbia College ASL-English Interpretation Dept.

Waubonsee Community College Interpreter Training Program
630.466.7900 x 2361 (Voice)
630.896.1179 (TTY)

William Rainey Harper College Sign Language Interpreting Program
845.926.6415 (Voice)
845.925.6772 (TTY)