Savannah Abshire | Sports Editor
Senior Kate Steiner has always been hard of hearing. She has to keep closed captioning turned on. Sometimes she talks loud. It wasn’t until last spring, however, that an MRI scan revealed Steiner would have to choose between the sport she loves and potential hearing loss.
Steiner, who has been a varsity diver on Avon’s swim and dive team since her freshman year, said that while the exact cause of her hearing loss is unknown, doctors suspect it is caused by an enlarged bone in her ear.
“This enlargement has had studies done that indicate concussions can cause further hearing loss,” Steiner said. “This was devastating for me because at the time I was diving, [which is] a sport where one is at high risk of getting a concussion.”
Steiner had to make a decision about her training and the next competition season. She could either dive and risk losing her hearing or end her diving career to eliminate the risk.
“If I were to get a concussion, the amount of hearing loss I could encounter is impossible to tell. I could either lose a little or almost all of [my hearing]. This prompted my decision to quit diving,” Steiner said. “This was hard for me because it was a sport I loved. I actually had made it to state and I was excited for the competing season.”
While Steiner decided to leave diving in order to preserve her hearing, she was unaware of how much she would actually miss the sport and her team.
“At the time I quit, I did not feel strongly about it, but as time went on I started to progressively miss diving more and more. It is especially hard right now because high school season is starting and I cannot participate in my last high school diving season,” Steiner said.
Despite keeping her from her final diving season, Steiner said that her hearing condition has helped her to appreciate all the things she is capable of doing.
“I’m thankful for my time in the sport and all the friends that I was able to make. I am also thankful for my coach because he showed me how to be determined and how to never give up,” Steiner said. “These lessons I have learned have become life lessons that I will take with me forever.
Photo submitted by Kate Steiner