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Nevaeh Never Gives Up: A story of resilience

EL PASO, Texas - Nevaeh Rodriguez always had a love for sports, but the game of softball was by far her favorite.

Rodriguez is a senior at Del Valle High School, and just recently wrapped up her final softball season in high school.

Watching Rodriguez play the game she loves, you wouldn't think anything was wrong, but she's had to overcome obstacles both on and off the field.

Nevaeh is hard of hearing, but being out on the softball field is worth every second.

 "It brings happiness," Rodriguez said. " I wanted to do it, it just seemed so fun and I wanted to do that."

Helping her along the way was Nevaeh's high school head coach, Erica Rodriguez.

Yes, there is a relation.

Coach Rodriguez is also Nevaeh's mother.

"It's been a really cool experience," Coach Rodriguez said. "Not that many people get to have that opportunity with their child, and it was really memorable."

 Coach Rodriguez knows first hand the obstacles her daughter Nevaeh has had to overcome.

When Nevaeh was 2-years-old, doctors discovered she was deaf.

When hearing aids didn't help Nevaeh underwent surgery to get cochlear implants at just 3-years-old.

"You don't want your daughter to go through that," Coach Rodriguez said. "I remember her coming out of her surgery, and she looked like Princess Leia with the bandages on her ears and her head was wrapped. She was sitting on somebody's lap, and they put the cords on her cochlear implants and they started messing with the sound and she just stood up like 'what's going on,' and that was a very emotional time."

 A cochlear implant is a small electronic device inserted inside the ear that helps provide sound signals to the brain.

The cochlear doesn't restore hearing, and Nevaeh still had to learn to communicate.

Growing up she often felt embarrassed by her cochlear implants.

"After a while I started seeing her (Nevaeh) put her hair down trying to cover it," Coach Rodriguez said. "I told her don't be embarrassed, you need to let people know about the cochlear implants, and you need to educate people, so that they understand."

However, Nevaeh never shied away from sports especially softball.

"On the field at first it was hard because I couldn't understand them (other players) cause the noises around me," Nevaeh Rodriguez said. "But we talked about it, and we figured out a way to help me understand better and it helped a lot." 

With the support of her teammates and her mom/head coach Nevaeh flourished, although it wasn't easy at first with mom always around.

"It was hard because I always see her as my mom, but then I started getting used to it and seeing her as a coach," Nevaeh Rodriguez said.

"It's crazy and it's just  weird because we just know (what the other is thinking), and I guess that's just the mom and daughter thing," Coach Rodriguez said.

A mom and daughter thing certainly speaks volumes, and it can also lead to success.

Nevaeh recently signed to play softball at Frank Phillips College, a community college in Texas.

It was a dream come true for Nevaeh and one she hopes will inspire others with disabilities.

"Don't let them make you feel different because you're not," Nevaeh Rodriguez said. "Never give up, you're like everybody else. You'll have your friends and family, they will be there always."

Nevaeh graduates from high school Monday.

She says her goal is to become a special education teacher so she can help other students with special needs.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


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