Silent Basketball Challenge to bring hearing and non-hearing players together to gain understanding of deaf sport challenges

FROM day one, Sam Quinn resolved to never let his deafness get in the way of his basketball ambition.

The four-time Deaflympian, who has been involved with the Australian Goannas for more than 20 years, has long been a role model for players, both hearing and deaf.

He's played for hearing teams Sandringham and the Bulleen Boomers in the Big V in his career, coached by former NBL star Darryl 'D-Mac’ McDonald at the latter.

On Tuesday, Quinn will attend the Silent Basketball Challenge at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre, a deaf awareness event where deaf and non-deaf players will play in complete silence, relying only on visual cues.

The game will aim to showcase the importance equal communication on the court.

Having played for both deaf and non-deaf teams, Quinn will bring a unique perspective to the challenge.

“I'm really excited for it, it'll be a good opportunity for those who can hear to experience what it's like to play as a deaf person,” he said.

“It'll be really challenging for hearing people, it'll be challenging to follow the prompts and visual cues deaf players look for.”

Quinn said when he originally tried out for Sandringham in the Big V, he had wanted to keep his deafness to himself and let his game do the talking.

“When I played for a hearing club, some of the challenges were that you weren't allowed to wear hearing aids, and unfortunately it was difficult to communicate,” he said.

“We had some barriers there so I had to try to lipread and use some gestures to communicate.

“When I first had to try out to make the team, I didn't want them to know that I was deaf.

“I wanted to show my skills before they saw that I was a deaf player.” 

While he enjoyed his time in the Big V, Quinn said it came as something of a relief when he began playing at a deaf club.

“It was a relief in terms of being able to communicate fluidly,” he said.

“I felt like I was able to play with life-minded players, because we identified as being deaf, we shared that competitiveness.

“There were some instances where I missed out on the hearing team because of communication issues.

“In the deaf team, I could communicate 100 per cent, we didn’t need codes or particular signs for particular things.”

The Silent Basketball Challenge will take place from 10am.