A profoundly deaf sports fan has been praised as a key contributor to Hawick enjoying their most successful rugby campaign in 12 years.
Adam Easton, 22, from Selkirk, has been profoundly deaf since he suffered meningitis as a baby, but it’s his visual and technical skills that have proved a major asset to the Greens.
With the help of Action on Hearing Loss – a charity that helps deaf people – Adam was keen to work in a sporting environment.
Step forward Hawick RFC and their sponsorship convener, Charlie Oliver, and David Gibbs who has a link to the club through Teviot Dental Practice.
“This started with David asking could we offer Adam any form of work experience even on a voluntary basis and then we’ve been able to broaden it out to a 26 week contract where Adam is working 16 hours per week and being paid to do it,” Dr Oliver explained.
In the early part of this season Adam started by helping to film games for the club with the material used for video analysis.
Hawick coach Phil Leck takes up the story: “Adam has proved a really quick learner. Not only has he been filming the games but he’s been able to tag certain things, for example, scrums, lineouts, tackles and line breaks, while the game’s been in progress.
“We’ve also had Adam film individual players and the work that he’s done has opened up a massive amount of time for me and the other coaches at the club.
“Right now I’ve got him working on a specific project for the close season where he is identifying how we scored our tries, from where, which patterns worked, which did not and where we were missing tackles.
“It’s one of our aims to become more professional and by having Adam on board we are able to use video analysis in much the same way as the pro-clubs and when we have pro players with us through the draft we can feed back directly to the pro-clubs with Adam’s analysis.
“We’ve finished sixth in the Premiership this season, our highest finish since 2002, and I firmly believe that Adam is much a part of the reason for this as our other coaches, medics, physios, backroom staff and committee. He gets on well with the players and has really fitted in well at the club,” Leck added.
Adam said: “I’m really enjoying working here. I’m doing about 16 hours a week and because a lot of the work is on the laptop I can work at home too.”
Hawick are optimistic that they will be able to retain Adam for next season and are encouraging other clubs to consider the advantages of such a relationship.