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#ThisGirlCanVIC - Kate Parremore

This Girl Can: Kate Parremore Lifelong Tigers' supporter, Kate Parremore loves sport and loves to compete. Kate is also deaf, but she's learnt to never let that stop her #ThisGirlCanVIC

Lifelong Tigers’ supporter, Kate Parremore loves sport and loves to compete. Kate is also deaf, but she’s learnt to never let that stop her.

“When I was little, my family always said, you know, it’s ok to be deaf. Any kid can play sport and you can as well.”

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AFL wasn’t an option for girls, so Kate took up netball and was hooked. She captained her team during secondary school. However, becoming a teenager presented more challenges than most would have to deal with.

“From the age of 12 onwards, you know, if I was with my opponent, they would do some hand gestures and make fun of me and that would make me cross.

“Sometimes I would question myself, why am I deaf? Why am I like this? Why do these people who can hear, treat me a little bit differently?”

Kate reveals it was a difficult time and she struggled coming to terms with who she was and the world around her. Adding to her personal struggle, a severe knee injury in her twenties, which required an ACL reconstruction. The one outlet where Kate felt she could shine was taken away from her.

“After the injury, I couldn’t go back to playing netball and I was in a bad way. It had a huge impact on me. I was missing competition and the game I love to play.”

Fearful of gyms and being judged by those more experienced, or being recognised as being deaf, Kate’s recovery was slow and painful, both physically and mentally.

“The fear of judgement was certainly there. I didn’t feel comfortable. I thought, ‘am I at the right place?’ People were watching and I just felt like people were saying, ‘you’re doing it the wrong way.’ I felt fearful of being there.”

All she needed was someone to take her hand and show her the way. Her interpreter and physiotherapist stepped in, guiding Kate through each apparatus and exercise. Quickly her confidence grew and an appreciation that you don’t have to be, or look a certain way to do a gym workout, or be active.

“They (people) were from the ages of 80 to you know, very young and some of them were muscly and some weren’t and I thought to myself, ‘you know what, this is me. I’m going to the gym. I’m not that perfect body shape, but I’m here to gain strength and my mental health.”

“In the end, you know, being deaf is ok! I can play sport, I can socialise with friends. I just try to live a normal life.”

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This often includes watching and more recently, attending with her interpreter, AFL matches to cheer on the Tigers. Kate reveals it’s difficult to understand when there is an injury or something is happening on the ground, which has commentary around it. The AFL includes Auslan interpreters at some of the bigger ticket games and Richmond is exploring ways the club can make the experience better for our deaf fans and more inclusive for all.

But one point Kate wants to stress is that being deaf doesn’t mean you can’t play football.

“Give it a try and just do it and if it doesn’t work in that sport, or that activity, try another sport. Enjoy it and just be yourself.”

“This Girl Can do anything she wants.”

Richmond Football Club is a proud partner of VicHealth’s This Girl Can Victoria campaign, celebrating women who are all kinds of active. Women who are giving it their all, or giving it a go, but not giving a damn!