Imagine playing football but without being able to hear any shouts from your team mates or not being able to hear the referee’s whistle. That’s exactly the case for Christina Murray who plays with Raith Rovers Ladies and Girls U9’s.
Christina is profoundly deaf and wears cochlear implants. Despite this, Christina’s love and enthusiasm for the game is allowing her to follow her aspiration of playing football.
Christina’s dad, Christian said, “Christina became interested in football when her two sisters started to play for Raith Rovers Ladies and Girls last April. She would kick the ball about in the back garden with them.
“Christina joined Raith Rovers Ladies and Girls training sessions in November and in the same month, she started training with Raith Rovers Community who held a trial session for deaf children.”
As noted though, being profoundly deaf causes some difficulties. “Christina faces many difficulties on the football pitch” said Christian. “The basic things that many footballers take for granted like a shout from a team mate or even the whistle.
“The weather can cause all sorts of problems. The wind can make it difficult for instructions to be heard as it carries the sound. If it rains, Christina would need to remove her cochlear implants as they are not waterproof. This leads to Christina having no hearing at all which effects all aspects of the game including those mentioned previously and her awareness of players around her.
“This also continues in training. The coaches’ instructions have to be shown visually as well as said orally as Christina has difficulty processing the spoken word and understanding.”
As expected, these difficulties can cause issues, as Christian explains. “It does effect Christina’s performance especially if she fails to understand or follow an instruction, but this does not stop her enthusiasm for the game" he said. "Christina perseveres and never seems to get frustrated.
“Christina’s team mates know of her disability and offer great support during training sessions. They show great patience when she gets things wrong or is unsure of things and help her greatly. They know communication is difficult for Christina and they try to support as best as they can, which is a major relief for us as parents as it can be socially difficult for Christina or any child with a hearing loss.”
It’s her perseverance and support from the team and club that allowed Christina to make her debut for the team last Saturday. “She was excited as soon as she got up and wanted to go to the game about two hours before she should have been there” said Christian. “Thankfully the weather was dry so she was able to wear her Cochlear Implants. Christina has a great energy and runs non-stop all the time.
“She played with a massive smile on her face for the three games and when she scored, the excitement was doubled. Christina couldn’t wait to get home to tell her mum and family that she scored.”
“Christina loves training and playing for Raith Rovers Ladies and Girls. If she could, she would train and play every day. The club are brilliant with Christina as they are with all their girls.”
Looking to the future, Christina and her family are hopeful of a number of things. “Christina is at a stage where her aspirations is to play football” said Christian. “As long as she can kick a ball and score a goal, Christina is happy.
“For her Mum and me, we would like to see Christina progress through the club at all the levels and make the Ladies team. Who knows, maybe even play for her country.
"That would be a major inspiration for the deaf community. To see a child with a hearing loss make great progress and showing that despite all the obstacles in the way, you can progress and achieve with a hearing loss."