Deaf, blind high school cross-country duo inspires teammates, community

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 8:52pm

Side by side, Cameron Jackson and Nick Barrera look like any other high school athletes. Yet Cameron is deaf and Nick is legally blind. The Ryan High School students are preparing for a cross country meet against other runners from within the Denton school district.

Cameron is among the fastest distance runners in the nation, completing a 5-k in 15 minutes and five seconds -- a national record. With the use of hearing aids, he's well aware of his surroundings. But when it's race time, he removes them, relying on his coaches. He says coaches and teammates tell him what place he's currently in, and if someone is trying to sneak up behind him. 

While Cameron can't hear the crowd's thunderous cheers, Nick says that's the sound that guides him. He refuses to use a guide rope, preferring to depend on his teammates' vision. Coach Jayme Krialy says Nick told her, "I don't want to use that [guide rope]. I was like ok, you don't have to, we'll run next to each other. We ran four miles."

It's that toughness and determination that makes these two young men inspiring to other students, like teammate Luis Barraza who says, "If they can do it, why can't we?"

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