By Chris Chaney
If you were to take in a game under the Friday Night lights of Goshen High School’s Jim Brown Stadium, your eyes would undoubtedly be drawn to No. 24 on the Warriors’ defense.
Dimitri Foreman, a senior linebacker for the Warriors, is one of those defenders that people like to say, “has a nose for the football.” He buzzes around the defensive side of the ball, sticking his head in on every tackle he can get near. But if you were to take a look underneath that helmet, there might be something else you would come to notice.
Foreman is deaf, but it is not a disability that defines him. In fact, if you talk to those close to Dimitri, you would know that he doesn’t even see it as an obstacle.
“He came out of the womb determined,” Foreman’s mother, Melissa, said. “I don’t think he sees that or anything else as an obstacle. He’s on a path that won’t allow him to have obstacles.
“We weren’t sure if we were ready or if he was ready for (football), but he doesn’t see his (deafness) as a handicap.”
Dimitri has been hearing impaired since fourth grade, but the loss of his hearing did not translate to the loss of his appetite to compete and excel both on the football field and in the classroom.
“He’s just a great kid and what you wish every student-athlete would be like,” Goshen athletic director and football coach Mark Slagle said. “He works very hard on the field and at school. He’s an excellent student and takes most of his classes at UC Clermont. Life would be better if there were more kids like Dimitri.”
Foreman has proven his worth on the field, starting as one of the two linebackers in Slagle’s 4-2-5 defensive scheme and recording the second-most tackles on the team this season.
Knowing he is deaf, you would have some questions about how he has become so effective. Like many sports, in football communication is key and even more so than other sports, football is wrought with schematics, audibles and constant changes.
That’s where Meoldy Creech comes in. Creech is a sign-language interpreter that has been assigned to Foreman by the county, matched up by personality.
“Melody does a great job,” Slagle said. “It’s easy to stand on the sideline and yell at kids on the field telling them they have to do this or that and for Dimitri, we do that through Melody. She signs it into him.
“It’s a little tougher because he has to focus on what she’s signing, so there’s just a little extra effort that he has to put in and it’s really admirable to see.”
Creech not only helps Foreman on the field, but also in the classroom, signing what teachers are saying. His mother also says that Dimitri can real lips exceptionally well.
When he’s not chasing down running backs, Foreman can often be found in front of a computer, working with web design and graphics.
“He’s definitely into computers and will probably do something like that in college,” Melissa said. “He just has a natural knack for computers, especially on the graphics side. He designs websites for people and right now someone hired him to design the cover for their book.”
With so much talent and perseverance, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Foreman wants to go to a strong computer design school as well as play football in college.
“He’s really looking into Gallaudet (University) in Washington DC,” Melissa said. “They have a really good program for him and they have a spot on the football team. That’s something that will probably persuade him on where he goes.”
Wherever that turns out to be, Melissa Foreman isn’t worried about how Dimitri will do.
“It exhausts me to look at him,” she said. “I’ve gone with him on some of his adventures and even I get exhausted, but he never does. I know he’ll be happy wherever he goes as long as he is playing (football) and with computers, he has a lot of options.
“I’ve teared up knowing what he has accomplished already. I really hope everything works out and I know he wants it to work out, so he’ll make sure it does.”