Hearing loss irrelevant to standout hockey player

FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA 9) -- Dominic Norris is a hockey-loving 15-year-old at Frederick High School, but he doesn't just love the game, he's very good at it.

Dominic is the first freshman to win the Monocacy Valley Hockey League Scoring and Goals title. He finished the season with 42 points and 34 goals, the most ever by a Frederick freshman in school history.

"It means a lot ... the thing that I think helped me the most was having my team, all of us pitch in different parts of the game," said Dominic, who reached these accomplishments by overcoming an obstacle you can't even see.

Dominic cannot hear out of his left ear.

"I think the thing that helped me overcome it the most was support. I had my parents, all my family there for me, and I also had the teams I've played on and the players that know me."

Dominic has been playing hockey since he was three years old. At every level, he's continued to play without sharing the information he is hearing impaired with the hope that people will judge him for his skills on the ice first.

His Frederick Cadets coach, Steve Gladchuck says Dominic doesn't receive special treatment because of his hearing impairment.

"He knows where to be before the play happens and has great anticipation, and that helps him to be in the right spot so he can put the puck in the net," said Gladchuk.

Dominic's other senses, especially sight, are sharper now.

"You really have to be a visual learner," said Dominic. You have to pay attention, not only by trying to hear, but you also have to really stay engaged with your eyes."

Like Dominic, his family does not view his hearing loss as an issue.

"When Dominic was diagnosed with the hearing loss, it was just part of who Dominic is -- we never really viewed it as an obstacle," said Dominic's mom, Michelle Norris.

"Any challenge thrown at you, you should really try and take it head on and accomplish it," said Dominic, who defines himself as a son, brother and teammate.


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