Tice is deaf, but that really is inconsequential when she takes the soccer field for University High.
“Being unable to hear doesn’t affect me,” Tice, a senior midfielder/forward, says through an interpreter. “We’re all just kids here. We’re all the same.”
When University (13-4-3) played Boone on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 6A, District 4 playoffs, Tice was there with her interpreter on the sideline and her father, Bill, in the stands. Tice has one interpreter with her at school, and another who attends most of her practices and all of her games.
If Tice has a question, she signs to her interpreter. If she needs to get her teammates’ attention, she raises her arms or screams. Her coaches communicate with her through her interpreter.
Several teammates have picked up a few signs, and Tice can read lips very well.
“It’s really not as hard to communicate with her as people think,” says teammate Tryncha Farrell, who has played with Tice for five years. “She understands what’s going on, and she’s pretty good about expressing herself.”
Tice lost her hearing when she was a baby. At 15 months old, she went for a routine shot for measles, mumps and rubella. One of the remote side effects was hearing loss. Her mother, Kathie, noticed she had to talk louder and louder for Erika to hear her shortly after the shot.
About a month later, Erika let out a high-pitched scream that didn’t sound normal. Kathie took her to the doctor, and her hearing loss was confirmed. Erika is totally deaf in her right ear, and she only can hear extremely loud noises in her left ear.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, 21st January 2009, by Andrea Adelson.