Playing to his own beat

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Mat Gilbert looks like any other professional rugby player, tall, powerful and the occasional scar, but what many people may not know is he is profoundly deaf. The former Bath Rugby and now Worcester Warriors flanker was born with a genetic disorder that meant his hearing deteriorated as he got older but it did not deter him from achieving his dream.

“In very simple terms I’ve got hearing loss in both ears and I missing the hairs that help transfer sound waves to the inner ear. It was probably a birth defect but it wasn’t properly diagnosed until I was about five, which was when I became deaf enough to be picked up on audiograms, it’s got progressively worse and now I’m profoundly deaf and use hearing aids in both ears.