Nominated by: The HearStrong Foundation
From: Bath, England
Mat's journey with hearing loss began very early on.
"My hearing loss was degenerative since birth and picked up at (five) years old," said Mat. "My family had me tested for a hearing loss and I was fitted with (hearing) aids straight away."
From a young age, Mat refused to be viewed as "different." He worked twice as hard in the classroom to stay on pace with his classmates and practiced twice as hard on the rugby pitch.
"I went through mainstream schooling (and) attended university," said Mat.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Mat said:
"I am who I am," he said when asked if his deafness has given him an extra drive to succeed. "I don't need to put my hand up and say, 'I've got a disability'. I can cope in this environment."
Mat is currently living his dream as a flanker for Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership.
"I don't want the other lads to give me any consideration," Mat continued to say in The Telegraph. "I want them to think of me as one of them, really. From the moment I started running around trying to be like Lawrence Dallaglio as a kid, it's where I always wanted to be," he says of the professional game. "Now I'm here, I'm going to enjoy it."
An inspiration to fans all around the U.K and beyond, Mat is shattering hearing loss stereotypes and showing millions what it means to overcome an obstacle and achieve one's goals.
"Being a professional (sportsman), I feel that it is a part of my job to be a role model and inspire others," said Mat.
Mat's advice to those with hearing loss who are unsure about seeking assistance:
"Get all the help you can. Being able to hear puts you on level terms with most other people in the world and, therefore, gives you a greater chance of success."
Learn more about hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants and how to live with hearing loss the HearStrong way.
A HearStrong Champion is an individual who refuses to let their hearing loss stand in the way of living a successful, well-rounded life. If this sounds like you or someone you know nominate them today!
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