Hearing Loss Not a Setback for UWS' Fortin

By KBJR News 1

November 8, 2013 Updated Nov 8, 2013 at 1:08 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- For most, hockey sounds include skates cutting through the ice and pucks slapping the glass.

But for UWS senior Marc Fortin, it's as if someone turned down the volume.

Fortin was born with a hearing impairment and says it's something that runs in his family.

"My Dad's side throughout the whole family has hearing loss," said Fortin. "My brother's is more profound than mine. He, my Dad, and I, we all wear hearing aids."

Except for when he's playing hockey. That's why he surprised both his head coach and play–by–play announcer at the end of his first season.

"One time at Stevens Point I was trying to get his attention, and it didn't seem like I was doing it," said head coach Dan Stauber. "It was our junior, Jeff Forsythe, who at that time said to me, 'Hey coach, I don't know if you understand. He's deaf.' And I said what?"

"Nobody knew," said Jon Garver, UWS Sports Information Director. "He didn't tell anybody. I found out by chance broadcasting the game one night."

Fortin says he chose not to tell anyone because he didn't want to be treated any differently.

"I probably should have told them. You never know what people are going to take from it. They don't really have the full understanding of how severe it is or exactly what the disadvantages of it are so they might be quick to judge. In some instances, it might be a setback."

It certainly hasn't been a setback for the Ontario native who says being a part of a team has helped him on and off the ice.

"I come here, and I don't feel any abnormality. I fit right in and that's helped me here and outside socially. That's the way I've always been, and that's the way I was raised."

It's been a win–win for both Fortin and the Yellowjackets.

"It doesn't have to be a loss or a setback," said Fortin. "It's just hearing. Half the time people are talking bad stuff about you so who cares. Just do what you love."

Posted by Sarah Wheeler
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