Deaf schools make history with interstate match up in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The Louisiana School of the Deaf and The Utah School for the Deaf played in a special interstate football game on Thursday, Oct. 20 in Baton Rouge.

Deaf schools have been playing football since the late 1800s, and LSD first fielded a football team in 1904.

For Utah, this is their first year as an organized team, and the first time they’ve played against another deaf school.

“It is a huge opportunity. A huge moment,” Utah Coach Brian Tingley said.

Leaders say this gives their players a chance to meet their peers from different states through a game they love.

“Really, it’s important and special for our kids, because they might not have the opportunity to play sports at other schools,” Louisiana Coach Denton Mallas said.

According to both teams, the best part is that this gives the kids a sense of identity.

”They are able to go and show our younger children that they can play. They can do whatever they want in their lives,” Tingley said. ‘As far as the game goes, it’s not too much different.

Instead of relying on whistles and the voice of the coaches, those at today’s game said they lean on their instincts and sight.

Both teams also featured female players on the field.

“We play the same game, we hit the same, we run the same, we score the same, as anybody else,” Mallas said.

Dr. Heather Laine, director of the Louisiana School for the Deaf said, “I am overjoyed for our students to have the opportunity to meet their peers from different states through playing football.  This gives our students a sense of belonging as a part of their Deaf identity and seeing there are peers just like them in other states.”

“The whole process has been a rewarding experience for everyone,” Tingley said.

Louisiana came away with the victory over Utah.

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