Friday, July 23, 2004

Puerto Rican Sounds infielder lip reads in English and Spanish to offset hearing impairment

"The 27-year-old [Luis] Figueroa is legally deaf and has been since the age of 6, when a high fever caused nerve damage that took away about 75% of his hearing."

"He furthered his chances of moving through the ranks by learning to lip-read in two languages, English as well as his native Spanish."

"'I think Spanish is more hard,' Figueroa said. 'Because Mexican Spanish is different than in Puerto Rico, and Dominican is different than Puerto Rico. Everybody has a different word.'"

"'But in English there is only one word. So I learned English from the captions on TV.'"

"In his first season with the Sounds, he's one of the team's hottest hitters, and despite his relatively advanced age for a baseball player, Figueroa is still hopeful of someday playing his first major league game."

The Tennessean

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