After losing his hearing at 18 months of age, it’s fair to say Declan Campion’s life has been far from ordinary.
The soon to be 17-year-old hasn’t let his impairment get in the way of his achieving success in the sporting arena, particularly in athletics and football.
He hopes to become the first deaf player to play in the AFL.
Campion’s host of achievement’s have led to him being recognised as the sixth nomination for the Norske Skog Young Achiever of the Year Award for 2017.
Last year, Campion won four gold medals from four events and set four new state records at the NSW Combined High Schools (CHS) Athletics Carnival in the 16 and over age category.
He was named Most Outstanding Male Para Athlete and received the Queen Elizabeth Award for records held.
Campion then backed it up with a further four gold medals at the NSW All Schools event.
However, his long jump gold medal at the Australian All Schools meet capped off a fantastic year and saw him set a new under 20 hearing impaired record.
During the 2015 season, he beat his long jump record by an incredible 72cm at the Australian All Schools Championships in Melbourne and was awarded the National Junior Rising Star in Athletics by Deaf Sport Australia.
From a football perspective, he has had no shortage of achievements.
In 2014, he played junior and senior football with James Fallon High School, featured in the annual interleague carnival and played in the premiership side, before claiming North Albury’s under 14s best and fairest.
Things lifted a notch in 2015 when he was invited to participate in the Draftstar Academy, which included an intense training camp at Assumption College and a series of matches and physical challenges.
His display granted him selection into the North East Border under 15s team for the V-Line Cup and saw him finish runner-up in North Albury under 16s best and fairest as a bottom age player.
Last season, he was asked to join pre-season training with the under 16s GWS Academy for selection to representative side and made the training squad for the Murray Bushrangers.
Campion also stepped up his game at the local level by climbing up into the thirds team as a 15-year-old and finishing equal fifth in the best and fairest count.
The 16-year-old has set himself a goal to make all representative football teams he is currently training for and push to make his senior debut for North Albury by the end of 2017.
Campion also wants to compete at the Deaflympics in Turkey later this year, as well as the Deaf Games in Albury in 2018.