Thu, 14 Feb 2013 14:18:55 EST
On February 2nd, The HearStrong Foundation honored its first HearStrong Champion, Paul Szemborski Jr., during the NFL Players Association's annual Smocks & Jocks Jazz Brunch and Art Auction in New Orleans, 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. The foundation, sponsored by EarQ and the NFL Players Association, recognized Paul, a 17-year-old football player from Jasper, TX, for his refusal to let hearing loss keep him from pursuing his passions.
After being told by his coaches that he could no longer be on the field because he couldn't hear the plays, Paul decided to take action and address the hearing loss he had been battling for years. Susan Bolgiano of Clear Choice Hearing Solutions helped Paul find the right devices and get back in the game.
"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."
Before members of the association, special guests and members of Paul's family, Andre Collins, director of former player benefits for the NFL Players Association, and Ed Keller, CEO of The HearStrong Foundation, presented Paul with his HearStrong Champion gold medal and certificate.
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