Not being able to hear the quarterback call the play or the fans cheer has never held West Jordan’s Alex Wilson, 15, back. He has wanted to play football since he was 3 years old and mimicking his older brother attacking the opposing quarterback on the sideline.
When Alex was born, the doctors discovered a small hole in his heart. He had surgery to repair the hole, but the medications that were used left him unable to hear.
“He has taught me that anything is possible. Kids with disabilities can do whatever they want to. He has such a loving heart, and his friends love to be around him,” Alex’s father Travis said. “I think some kids with disabilities think they will be made fun of or cannot do it. Alex is a rugged kid and gets right in there and has fun.”
Alex currently plays in the junior division (14 and 15 year olds) of the West Jordan Little League, Ute Conference. He has played since he was 8. His father has always helped coach his team.
Communicating with Alex was a challenge in the beginning. His teammates learned they couldn’t just talk to him. They had to find other ways to connect. Now many of his teammates have learned some sign language. They also point to the spot or move Alex to where he needs to be.
Teammate Easton Watts said at one game, after the team had signed some information to Alex, the referee threw a flag accusing them of making gang signs. The coaches had to explain to the official what was going on.
“I do not think other teams even know [he is deaf] unless they try to talk to him. He always gets to the quarterback first,” Watts said.
Alex leads his junior team with nine sacks. His team recently held a silent practice. The coaches wanted to simulate what Alex goes through every day with each of the kids. No one was allowed to speak. Instead, they had to sign or point to communicate.
Travis Wilson said the players fumbled the ball, missed passes and could not make their blocks because they were so distracted. They were amazed with what Alex goes through every day.
Alex attends Jean Massieu School for the Deaf and Blind at 1655 East 3300 South. He plans to attend Skyline High School because of its current deaf school program.
“His family has been part of our league for a long time. Travis has coached here forever and is well-respected,” Jaguar league president Travis Johnson said.
Alex’s junior division team finished their regular season with a 9-0 record. They defeated Cyprus 14-0 in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 1. Alex had two sacks in that game. They won the Ute Conference championship game Nov. 8, 13-6 over Corner Canyon.
Besides football, Alex plays basketball and video games. His father said that has helped him learn to play football.
“I want to go to Skyline. I have friends that go there. I really like playing football and tackling the quarterback. My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys, and I like hanging out with my friends,” Alex said through his father.