Posted: 25 November, 2016
by Footy Newsroom
The Brilliant Story Behind Collingwood's First Draft Pick
"With sport, it's never held me back at all."
Collingwood drafted Oakleigh Chargers forward Sam McLarty with pick 30 in the 2016 AFL draft.
But he's not your everyday footballer.
McLarty has a bionic ear.
The 18-year-old was diagnosed with profound deafness at just nine months old, and flew from Launceston to Melbourne, requiring surgery for a cochlear implant.
It hasn't held McLarty back, though - he was communicating normally before primary school and still proved good enough at footy to earn a place for Oakleigh Chargers and then Collingwood.
The Magpie said he was forever thankful of what his parents had done, moving interstate to have the surgery.
"It's not really something that's nice to think about, but I'm very thankful," McLarty told The Age last year.
"I obviously wouldn't be here, doing this, if it wasn't for the decisions they made."
He plays with a helmet to protect the small processor behind his ear, but other than that, everything's pretty normal.
"I don't know any different. With sport, it's never held me back at all," he said.