Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman inspires hearing-impaired kids

Wednesday's health and safety news from the world of football:

* Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman, who has been hearing impaired since he was 3, met and inspired more than 100 deaf children at Tacoma's Baker Middle School, KING-TV in Seattle reported.


"If you have a dream, (or) if you want to do something with your life, you have to go out there and you have to take it," he told the children.


Coleman speaks from experience. When the roar of the 12th Man reaches deafening levels at the Seahawks' stadium, Coleman barely hears any of it. He mysteriously lost his hearing when he was just three years old. Coleman grew up embarrassed and picked on, but learned to read lips and with the help of two hearing aids, graduated from UCLA and found his way onto Seattle's roster in his second pro season.


Coleman is the first deaf athlete to play offense in the NFL and scored his first touchdown against the Saints on Monday Night Football earlier this season. He is able to hear plays on the field by using his hearing aids and reading the lips of quarterback Russell Wilson at the line of scrimmage.


"I've been through it all. I've been through what they're going through," he said Tuesday. "I just want to let the kids to know they're not alone."


* The Boston Herald detailed the road to recovery for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who sustained a torn ACL and MCL last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.


Gronkowski faces an intensive rehabilitation process that includes surgery and months of physical therapy. Dr. Courtney Dawson, an orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital, said Gronkowski's recovery time depends on the number of ligaments that are damaged but could be 9 to 12 months.


She said the surgery should help him get back to normal.


"We reconstruct these injuries in young, active people and in professional athletes because we know it's not only beneficial to the knee as far as stability, but it can certainly help to avoid further injury," Dawson said. "The knee will have more stability and better mechanics after being reconstructed."


... Dr. James Gladstone, an orthopedic surgeon and co-chief of sports medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed some NFL players' careers have been adversely affected by ACL tears.


"What it found was that about 80 percent of them returned to the league," Gladstone said. "Then they looked at performance level. The ones that returned performed at about 66 percent of the level that they were performing at prior to ACL injury. It runs the gamut."


* The Cincinnati Bengals made a grant to Mercy Hospital to help cover the costs of baseline concussion testing of athletes at 28 area high schools, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported.

* The New York Daily News reported that 39 former players -- mostly former New York Giants and Jets -- filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Manhattan federal court against the NFL and companies associated with helmet maker Riddell, seeking damages of more than $75,000 each and a medical monitoring program paid for by the league.

* The Houston Chronicle reported on Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who spent $17,000 in 80 seconds on toys for at-risk children.

* NewOrleansSaints.com reported on members of the New Orleans Saints and NBA's New Orleans Pelicans taking part in a tobacco-free living event.

* NewOrleansSaints.com also reported on New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who talked to the East Jefferson High School football team as it prepares for the state championship this weekend.

* The Charlotte Observer reported on Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams helping out at a food distribution event.

* Steelers.com reported on Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor taking part in the Shop with a Jock event.

* WRTV-TV in Indianapolis published a Scripps Howard News Service story on breakthroughs in imaging in detecting long-term brain injury effects.

* CoachUp.com published a list of a warning signs for parents on concussion awareness, according to Imperial Valley (Calif.) News.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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