Slam-dunking deaf basketball with my new Nucleus® 6

People say Asia is busy, and since returning home from competing in Taiwan at the World Deaf Basketball Championships, I can safely agree. The people on motor scooters, which outnumber the cars, constantly speed back and forth in the humid weather making it a sweltering experience just to walk to the nearest 7/11 shop to buy water. Nevertheless it was amazing to represent and help lead the Deaf Australian Basketball Team and finish 9th in the world. This improved our previous ranking of 13th in the world.

Photo: VIcki Corrigan
Photo: VIcki Corrigan

We completed the tournament with a 3-2 win loss record beating Poland, Japan and Taipei only falling to Greece and USA. Before the games even started it was heartbreaking to see a teammate and close friend go down with a catastrophic ankle injury in the 2nd last training session before the games commenced. It’s crazy for me to think that I only found out about deaf basketball six years ago and since then, I’ve been overseas three times, met my best mates, and have become the person that I am today.

Cochlear 4_Blog 2_ VIcki Corrigan
Photo: VIcki Corrigan

I’ve just been upgraded from my Freedom® sound processor to the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 6 (CP910), and I am just getting used to all the changes and differences between the two sound processors. One massive change for me is no longer having to constantly source disposable batteries to power my implant as the new Nucleus 6 relies on rechargeable batteries that last 8 hours each (for me) and are easy to swap. A great move as I don’t want to think about the effect on the environment that all my flat disposable batteries have had. Also, the new device is more “sweat proof” than my last, but the real test will come in summer when the weather is humid. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Cochlear™ Wireless Accessories to use at work, when training and around the house. I am most keen for the Phone Clip that can be used to play music wirelessly via bluetooth. I have been waiting too long for the day when I can simply stream my music via my phone to my processor so that I can listen to some beats whilst training. Thanks to the Phone Clip, this is now possible!

Since getting back from Taiwan, I have been busy at work managing Melbourne’s Hear for You program, which mentors deaf and hard of hearing high school students. It has just wrapped up its final workshop for the oral program and about to commence its Auslan program (Australian Sign Language). At the same time I have just recently started two more part time jobs giving me a full time work schedule keeping me busy for the time being. Some may say that I am working too much at the moment, but the way I see it is if the work is for something that you are passionate about, it will be worth it. I’ll talk more about my two new jobs next time!

As for the National Deaf Basketball Team, “The Goannas”, we are now getting prepared for the Asia Pacific Deaf Games also being held in Taiwan from the 3rd-11th of October where we have our eyes firmly locked on the Gold medal.

Photo: VIcki Corrigan
Photo: VIcki Corrigan

Sam Cartledge

From Melinda…

Hi guys,

I’m looking forward to sharing some pieces of advice with you all, and I thought I’d start with sport – something that I live and breathe everyday. I grew up playing sport because it enabled me to unleash my competitive side, as well as give me some confidence and make some friends along the way. Being deaf was somewhat of a barrier for me, as I didn’t have the confidence to socially interact comfortably with my peers, therefore I saw sport as a vessel to engage with my peers. Sport was something that I could perform well in and gain the respect of others. It gave others a reason to approach and engage in conversation with me.

But I am aiming for higher – to perform well in my passion in the sport of triathlon – and, to gain the respect of the wider population by focusing on my goals to achieve selection for the Rio Olympics in 2016. So that’s my story.

Melinda Vernon Devonport Oceania Cup 2014

Now, I’d like to share a few tips how you can engage in sport using your CI with minimal issues.

In sports that involve excessive sweating like running, cycling and basketball – you may freak out like the sweating guy in theSweating gif image here, getting all worried that your CI might get damaged!!! But don’t fret – you can still exercise and play with your CI without damaging it by wearing a sweat band made out of Lycra or Nylon/ Polyester/ Terry cloth material, as they are pretty sweat absorbent. You might look like someone out of the 1980’s, but I’m sure you can jazz it up and show off your unique fashion style 😉 I use the sweat band also as protection from contact to the head or ear in more contact sports. It’s also handy as a stabiliser to prevent it from falling off especially when jumping, sprinting, etc.

image1 For the newer generation of Cochlear™ Nucleus® 5 and 6 implantees, you may have heard of the Aqua Accessory -I personally haven’t used this yet due to not having the Nucleus® 6 processor (I’m part of the older generation of Nucleus® 22 which will hopefully receive our newly updated processors soon 🙂 ) I have heard it is fantastic for swimming and other water sports like Waterpolo – it would be exciting to be able to hear what goes on in the h20 world! You would be able to get better instructions from swimming coaches rather than relying on lip reading! You would also be able to get a better start in a race with a faster reaction speed and hearing the crowds cheer you on ALL the way 🙂 In the other sports like water polo, it would make it easier to communicate amongst other team members and therefore lead to a better outcome of the game.

Learn to be a great interpreter of body language – you can still perform and play to your best potential if you can learn to interpret your competition’s body language. It pays to know this as you can plan your next move in the game/ race and have an advantage for a better outcome. For example such as cross-country running – if you see someone in front of you starting to tense their shoulders, or their leg rhythm/ pacing is starting to slow down, then you know they are tiring, and it is the opportune time to overtake them, they may suffer psychologically and slow down even more – the bonus is that you have improved on a placing during the race!

Melinda Vernon Triathlete

I hope that this was some good advice you can take away and test out in your chosen sport!
Please note the above pictures and clips are used for your entertainment purposes 😉

Please leave me a comment below if there is something in particular you would like to hear about.

Melinda 🙂