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Mat Gilbert third in Deaf Sports Personality of the Year

19 November 2012

  • Mogliano back row on awards shortlist
  • England Deaf to face Wales in March

England Deaf international Mat Gilbert finished third in the prestigious Deaf Sports Personality of the Year awards which were held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry at the weekend.

Gilbert, a former Dover, Hartpury College, Llanelli and Scarlets back-row forward, finished behind Mike Burris (badminton  and golf) and winner Umesh Valjee, a cricketer who scored three centuries in the Deaf Ashes, in the awards which celebrate the achievements of deaf athletes.

Gilbert, who is now playing for Mogliano in Italy, is  profoundly deaf and wears hearing aids underneath his scrum cap.

He is a former pupil of the Duke of York’s Military School and Bilton Grange School near Rugby and has represented England in Deaf Internationals.

Players are eligible to play for the England Deaf Rugby Union or England Deaf Rugby Union for Women if they have a combined average hearing loss of 25dB or more in both ears.

This roughly translates to a minimum hearing loss in both ears or a moderate hearing loss in one ear but can hear normally in the other.

Not all of the players wear hearing aids or only communicate by sign language, and this has never stopped all the players from communicating and playing  rugby as a squad.

EDRU can offer Deaf Awareness advice to clubs and schools to help integrate deaf and hard of hearing players into clubs and to liaise with club members to ensure the players are managed correctly.

England will play their annual Deaf International against Wales on March 17 at a venue in Wales to be confirmed.