As a standout wide receiver for Indiana, Duwyce Wilson has become accustomed to the roar of the crowd at Memorial Stadium. The redshirt sophomore led the Hoosiers with an average of 15.2 yards per reception last year and is off to a strong start this season, tallying 11 receptions and two touchdowns in Indiana’s first three games. This is in sharp contrast to what Wilson refers to as his “quiet home.”
Both of Wilson’s parents, Duwyce Sr. and Celestine, and two of his three older sisters, are deaf. Duwyce and his sister Annette both grew up able to hear but learned sign language in order to communicate with their family.
This Saturday, BTN will bring you the story of the Wilson family at 10:30 a.m. ET as part of the network’s pregame show.
Wilson said his parents try to come to all of his games.
“They watch harder than other people,” Wilson said. “When I score, they jump with everyone else.”
BTN feature producer, Julian Darnell, said that John Wilson, brother of Duwyce Sr., also knows sign language and was at the game helping to interpret for Duwyce and Celestine.
Darnell noticed while watching Wilson’s game that he would use certain hand gestures after plays.
“Whenever I do something good on the field, I throw up an ‘I love you’ to wherever they are sitting,” Wilson said.
Wilson is majoring in speech and hearing sciences and hopes to become a sign language translator.
“I love sign language,” Wilson said. “I want to know all of it. I want to be able to sign more fluently and I want to be out there to help other deaf people that are in need.”
Darnell said that one of the best parts of producing this piece was watching the family dynamic.
“Whether you’re in the hearing world or the deaf world, the love of family is universal. The way that they interact while they’re signing is no different than how a family interacts while they’re talking,” Darnell said.
Wilson admits that he was embarrassed by his family’s situation when he was younger and wants other kids in his position to know that there is nothing to be ashamed of; you should love your parents and embrace what you have.
“The fact that he’s majoring in speech and hearing sciences speaks volumes to the journey that he took,” Darnell said. “A journey that will make him a productive member of society whether he’s playing on Sunday or not.”
— Written by Mallory Treleaven, BTN Communications