American Student Is Only Deaf Tennis Playing In College League

Natasha Basma, the only deaf player in NCAA Division I tennis, according to, has become one of FAU's best players.A 19 year-old girl is the only deaf player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), in America to play tennis.

Natasha Basma is the lone deaf player in Division I for tennis according to deaf and has even become one of her university’s best players.

There are many aspects of the game that Ms Basma misses out on because of her impairment; she can’t hear the ball ping when it hits her racket, or hear the assistant shout ‘out’ when someone serves, or hear the crowd of spectators cheering.

The young sports woman, who is studying biology at Florida Atlantic University, appears to not let anything get in her way. She said: “It wasn’t something that kept me from doing anything in life.

“I think of it like not being able to see well. They have glasses for that. I wear hearing aids for my hearing loss.”

The sophomore, who was diagnosed before she was two, has hereditary hearing; her sister has a mild hearing loss but her parents do not.

As a child she was encouraged to participate in all sports- she danced ballet, took up swimming and played piano and volleyball.

Basma said she has turned her impairment into an advantage and wants to become a pro tennis player.

“I’m definitely more focused, looking at the ball and making sure I have the right spot with my racket,” said Basma, who last year won five of six matches at No. 3 singles.

“And because I hear the fans less, it gives me more focus,” the college player said.

Her coach and her fellow players have improvised visual signals to communicate with Basma during matches and practice.


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