Deaf Professional Athlete Inspires Deaf Students

SCRANTON — Matt Hamill is a three-time NCAA D-III wrestling champion, a UFC fighter with an impressive 12 and 4 professional record, and Matt is deaf.

He now travels the world acting as a motivational speaker. On Tuesday, he came to the Scranton School for the Deaf near Clarks Summit to tell students about his story of success. The kids we spoke with via a translator told Newswatch 16 that they loved hearing his story because it inspired them to become successful adults.

During his presentation, Matt told the children what life was like as a deaf kid growing up in Ohio, and elaborated on how he beat the odds to become a world renowned athlete. Matt says, “I see them smile when they learn my story, and I’m just happy that I’ve inspired almost 100 kids today.”

In 2010, a movie titled “The Hammer” was made about Matt’s life, and during Tuesday’s presentation, Matt often acted out some of of the movie scenes to give the kids a few laughs. Scranton School for the Deaf Principal Brian Kelly said, “He just played the part, he acted it out and really told the story of how he overcame challenges, which is what many of our kids have experienced. It was just so appropriate for our school.”

Matt reminded these children to never stop short of reaching their goal, and he is still striving to reach his ultimate goal of winning an Ultimate Fighting Championship! In Matt’s words, “I’m not stopping until I get the belt!”

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