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Dylan Gallant started playing basketball when he was five or six. At 10, he was diagnosed with severe hearing loss. In a game in the . Now he’s a team captain and the starting point guard for the men’s basketball team.

“I couldn’t imagine the kind of person I’d be without (basketball),” said the 21 year old.

The Summerside native grew up watching his father play at the YMCA. Gallant followed in his footsteps. “It was something easy to do. You don’t need two people, you just a net.”

His father noticed something was wrong with his hearing when Gallant was 10. He’d sit close to the TV with the volume all the way up and still had trouble hearing.

“When I first got them (hearing aids) there was never a question of I wouldn’t play basketball,” said the fourth-year sociology and women and gender studies major. “We just had to figure out the how.”

Gallant is co-captain, alongside Ben Cripps, with the team wrapping up its preseason. He’s trying to mentor as much as he can and try to lead by example. Gallant is known for his mouth, along with his skills, on the court, but coaches are working with him to cut down on the technical fouls.

“I’ve never been a team captain before, and I know coach is asking a lot out of us,” said Gallant. “We have a lot of first years and new players, so I have to set an example.”

The 5’10 point guard said given his size, opponents would often  pick on him. So he would speak up for himself, but would cost the team technical fouls. As a team captain, his behaviour had to change.

“I have to be a leader and keep my composure and not get frustrated with the game,” said Gallant.

When he first came to STU, veterans would sneak up behind him and steal the ball away. Gallant couldn’t hear them coming, so it was frustrating, but coaches worked with him to overcome that.

“Just playing the game I have to be a lot more aware with my eyes. I’m always looking over at (the) coach to make sure I’m not missing anything.”

Now when he sees the rookies struggling, he remembers his own struggles and thinks back to what he would’ve wanted to hear at the time. Gallant tries his best to encourage them. He realizes everyone struggles with something, no matter the skill level.

“There’s nothing more influential in your game than experience.”

The team has six players in their first year with the team. Now one of the oldest, he hopes to leave a positive impact on the team.

“If you don’t push yourself, you’re not going to get better,” said Gallant. “Just keep getting better.”

Gallant can remember having to push through the frustration when his hearing aid broke while playing. He also remembers the first time he dribbled the ball after getting his hearing aid and developing ways to cope on the court.

“Get anyone to play without one of their senses.”

Gallant said he came to STU after another coach recommended the program, and he’s glad he did.

“The whole school is exactly what I wanted.”

He hopes to one day work as a social worker or parole officer. His greatest joy is working with people. He said his fondest team memories are volunteering with children in the community.

“It’s just an awesome feeling.”

Gallant has high hopes for the team. He doesn’t see a school they can’t beat if they play like their coach wants them (to). Gallant also wants them to continue to play for each other.

“It’s like having a family away from home.”

 

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