LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Mason Gooch is an 18-year-old senior from Montgomery County High School. He's an outside linebacker for the football team, currently on pace for a school record for tackles for a loss.
He's also completely deaf.
"I can't hear anything at all; it's silent," Gooch said. "(On) Friday nights it's just silent, there's nothing out there. I just love to go out there and do what I like to do all in complete silence."
The outside linebacker says even though he's deaf he can still hold a conversation.
"I actually read lips really well and I have a cochlear implant," he said. "I (also) went to five years of speech therapy. It was really hard."
Mason says he's been playing football since he was four years old and though people have told him to stop playing football and focus on other things, he never intended to stop.
"We're all the same people, we just can't hear," Gooch said. "We can do anything we want."
That's the message he's passing along to hard of hearing students at Bryan Station Middle School. For one hearing impaired football player in the audience, Mason's message was loud and clear.
"I think it's an honor, he's like a model to me," Bryan Station Middle School 8th grader Taylor Eversole said. Eversole is a middle lineback for the football team and is hearing-impaired. "Like what he says, just be yourself and you can do anything even though you can't hear; you can do anything."
After his presentation, some students even asked Mason for his autograph; a first for the senior.
He says his story can apply to anyone regardless of whether or not they can hear.
"There's a lot of obstacles you can overcome and you can overcome anything," he said. "If you really want to do it, then you can do it."
Mason says he's already being courted by several universities to play football. He says if he doesn't get the chance to play at the next level, he's still looking forward to furthering his education.