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'Don't let other people say you can't do it': Waco ISD football player shares inspiring story

University High football player shares his story of overcoming adversity.
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Posted at 8:37 PM, Jun 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-27 22:22:34-04

WACO, Texas — When you see Eric Grooms on the football field, you might not know that he's had to overcome a tough obstacle throughout his whole life.

"I was born hearing at one or two, and then when I became three, the doctor told me 'Well son, your right ear is deaf and your left is 50 percent,'" Grooms said.

Grooms is a Senior on the Trojans football team, and the gridiron is something that his family knew he was born to do.

"He's always loved sports. He came out of me with the ball. I always tell him he used to sleep with the football," Eric's mother Anna Towns said.

"I can't tell you how happy that has made him, to not just be a part of a team, but Eric is very much a leader, and so to be able to go in there and encourage and motivate and just have his teammates back, you know, means the world to him."

"It's my dream. I want to teach other deaf children — let them know that you can do it too," Grooms said.

"Just don't let other people tell you can't do it — I would have people tell me that, and I don't look down, I look at them like, 'You can't stop me from anything because I'm going to keep going,'."

"My backup plan to be a coach and a teacher. If I become a head coach, I wanna be a head coach here [University High] because I went to school here.

The Trojans are being newly led as Kaeron Johnson was announced as the head coach for the Trojans in April.

A new look for the Trojans and their summer workouts have started the bonding process for Johnson and Grooms.

"I wouldn't trade him for the world," Johnson said.

"He's a great teammate, great leader, very inspirational to his teammates. I can't say enough good things about him."

Waco ISD has a program to aid hard of hearing students, and University High is hoping students can see Eric's success and continue to grow.

"It's great when the student has a passion and they pursue it so heavily," said Kristina Hickman, Coordinator for the Regional Day School Program for the Deaf.

"We're able to recognize what his supports need to be and he can communicate that to us."

"I hope that we have more deaf students that try out for athletics," said Brittany Clark, Sign Language Interpreter.

"We mostly have deaf students that do P.E. and they're done and they just kind of wipe their hands of it, but there's so much that University offers that I want our deaf kids to be able to explore."

Eric has faced his fair share of challenges, but it's his mindset that keeps him going to achieve his dream.

"I'll say one thing — don't stop, just keep going," Grooms said.

"Don't let people tell you what you can't do — you just got to believe in yourself. I'm telling you that because I believe in you."

There's an old saying that goes "work like a trojan," which means to work very hard. Grooms lives by that saying everyday.