Deaf Athlete Kai Christenberry: God Made Me Beautiful; Lift Up his Teammates Without Speaking a Word
By Britton Lynn, KCTV On November 8, 2013
Kai (right) speaks with Britton Lynn (center) with the help of an interpreter. Source: WBRC video
SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - "There's something in the nature of the game that you don't get playing anything else," said Oak Mountain head football coach Cris Bell. "It gives in direct proportion to what we give it. When you pour everything into (football) it's going to grab a hold of you. [Football] is just so much raw emotion, raw passion. It's so much of what we're missing today in society."
Joyful, quiet, and humility are words not usually associated with football or football players. But Kai Christenberry isn't your typical athlete. Only Kai can lift up his teammates without speaking a word.
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"Eagle pride! I'm deaf," Kai said. "God made me beautiful."
The fact that Kai even chose to play, despite difficulty communicating with his teammates, is one miracle.
"I have to watch the quarterback when he takes the snap," Kai said. "And I look at the safety, the coach or the interpreter on the sideline together."
But even more amazing is that Kai is here in Alabama.
"We got a phone call about Kai saying he was this amazing 13-year old boy," said Kai's mother, Kim Christenberry. "They said he was going to have no where to live very soon and asked if we would we consider bringing him home."
Three years ago Kai was one of the 153 million orphans living across the globe.
"In China, families reject their child if they [are] deaf," Kai said. "They don't want them. They don't like deaf [children], they take them to the orphanage. They just get rid of them. In China, they don't know religion, they don't know about God."
At just 13-years-old, Kai was running out of time.
"They generally age out of the system," Kim said. "So that means that [the kids] no longer have a place to live."
It was likely that when he turned 14, Kai would be homeless.
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"He would basically be out on the streets to fend for himself, to beg. If he was lucky get some sort of factory job. Just out there alone," Bill Christenberry, Kai's dad, said.
With the help of Lifeline Adoption Agency, the Christenberry family welcomed Kai to their home in Birmingham.
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