:: Feature: Good communication – NCAA Sports.com ::
Feature: Good communication – NCAA Sports.com
April 3, 2007
By Amy Farnum
NCAASports.com Staff Writer
Good communication and timing is pertinent to a team’s success in the sport of men’s volleyball, and a player’s hearing impairment could definitely shake that delicate balance, but UC Irvine’s David Smith hasn’t let it.
Smith was born with a 70-80 percent decibel loss in both ears, which is considered severe, and wears hearing aids and lip reads.
“It’s something I’ve always had,” said Smith. “I was born with it as far as they can tell. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was three years old though. They really don’t know why.”
The native of Saugus, Calif., grew up playing sports like baseball, basketball and soccer and following in the footsteps of his older brother, Robert. When Smith reached high school, he decided to join the volleyball team as Robert had.
“There was actually another guy on my high school team who was a year older and hard of hearing, too,” said Smith. “He wasn’t as severe as I was, but still had to wear hearing aids when he played, too. I had the advantage of my (high school) coach already being broken in with somebody who was hard of hearing.”
Now, the 6-7 senior is one of the best middle blockers in the nation for the second-ranked Anteaters. He leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with a .552 hitting percentage, which also ranks fourth in the nation. Smith’s 1.48 blocks per game is fifth in the nation, and he continues to climb the UCI career charts. He is the Anteaters’ career leader in block assists with 425, and total blocks with 474. Continue