INDIANAPOLIS — Butler University volleyball player and 2011 North Montgomery High School graduate Kelly Kyle will participate in the Deaflympics from July 26 to Aug. 4 in Sophia, Bulgaria, this summer as a member of the volleyball team representing the United States. The event is sponsored by the International Olympic Committee.
Kyle is excited about the opportunity to participate in the games alongside 5,000 athletes from 100 countries.
Kyle, who has completed two successful volleyball seasons at Butler, said she has known about the invitation for several months but a lot of clarification of rules and other matters needed to be cleared with the NCAA before she could commit to the team.
“We had to make sure I did not hurt my Division I eligibility,” Kyle said. “Once I got everything cleared with Butler’s help, I really started to get excited.”
Butler volleyball coach Sharon Clark is supportive of Kyle participating in the games.
“It is a great honor for Kelly to be selected to represent the United States, Butler University and our team at the Deaflympics this summer,” Clark said. “Kelly is a tremendously talented athlete and she constantly works on her game to improve each day. As her coach, I am extremely proud of Kelly and the outstanding volleyball player she has become.”
Athletes with at least a 55 decibel hearing loss in the “best ear” qualify to participate in the Deaflympics.
Kyle, who has a lifelong hearing impairment, said she has plenty to do to get ready for the games. As soon as she gets out of school this spring, the first thing she has to do is start learning sign language. To overcome communication barriers, Kyle said learning sign language is more important than learning the language spoken by native Bulgarians.
“I will be on a team where 90 to 95 percent of my teammates will be totally deaf including the coach,” Kyle said. “I need to learn sign language because that is how we will communicate not only amongst our team, but with everyone at the games.”
Kyle, who was the Journal Review’s 2010 Volleyball Player of the Year, said the majority of her team will be comprised of the volleyball team from Gallaudet University located in Washington D.C. The university is the world’s only university with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.
Kyle, the daughter of Ron and Jean Kyle of Crawfordsville, will not meet her new team until May 30 when she will travel to Louisville, Ky. to participate in the US Open, a precursor to the Deaflympics.
“My first chance to meet the team will be at the US Open,” Kyle said. “There will be teams from everywhere and we will get a chance to compete and get to know each other.”
In July, Kyle will travel to Washington D.C. to start a two-week training camp for the team before flying to
The announcement of Kyle participating in the Deaflympics has not gone unnoticed by her high school coach, Jodi Webster. Webster has high regards for Kyle not only for her athletic ability but also for the inspiration she is to those around her.
“For a North Montgomery graduate to play at the Division I level is a tremendous achievement, and to have her now play in the Deaf Olympics is outstanding,” Webster said. “Kelly continues to make her mark in the history books at North Montgomery and continues to be an inspiration and role model for us all. Every young athlete has to be inspired by her ability to be the best no matter what life gives us. Kelly is an amazing young woman.”