17 February 2020

England rugby sevens player Jodie Ounsley risks losing hearing to play in Tokyo Olympics

England rugby sevens player Jodie Ounsley has said that she is going to risk losing her hearing to play at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The 19 year-old is deaf but has a cochlear implant meaning she can hear but runs the risk of losing that by playing rugby.

She says she has been advised not to play a contact sport.

"I'm really passionate about not letting hearing hold you back. Anyone who has a cochlear implant fitted, they say not to play impact sports because of the risk that the implant might get knocked in your head and you might not be able to hear again.

"That's the worst possible scenario. I found sport and it was something I was good at where my hearing didn't seem to matter.

"As I've grown, I've realised you need to go for it anyway. There's no point holding back. The last thing you want to do is live with regrets," she told BBC Sport.

She added that playing at the Olympics is her 'dream'.

"I've always said I wanted to go to the Olympics. It's still my dream. There's a long way to go and I've got so much to learn but I'm going to keep working hard - you never know what will happen."

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