Stefany Krebs: The Story of the First Deaf Player in Brazilian Professional Football

It is known that football for the visually impaired has its own rule set by FIFA, the ‘international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and efootball’. The International Federation of Sports for Blind (IBSA) regulates sports for impaired athletes.

Going deeper into the difficulty, can you imagine being a deaf woman and a professional football player? This is the story of Stefany Krebs, 22, a midfielder and world champion for Palmeiras’ Futsal Team.

Stefany signed for the Brazilian giants earlier in the year and spoke how this momement in her career was defined by the the word gratitude. The transfer was such a special moment not just in her life, but for everyone who has had the same struggles as her.

Stefany at Palmeiras (Website/Estadao)

“Nothing is impossible, as we are all equal and capable of everything. I will do my best for the Greatest Champion in Brazil”, she told Palmeiras’ official website.

Stefany, who will be the first deaf player in professional football in Brazil, said that deafness also does not make communication with companions unfeasible, it just transforms the exchange of information. She teaches sign language while her friends invent gestures for communication in daily life.

The team has already combined several signs for the game, such as being pressed and general positioning. Another athlete from the team explained that the secret is to make gestures, like waving your arms when you want to receive the ball. To draw attention when the partner is on her back, body contact is necessary, such as a tap on the shoulder.

To facilitate inclusion in the Palmeiras team, the club hired specialists on the topic. Physical trainer William Bitencourt and performance analyst Vanessa Silva work at the club and are part of the coaching staff of the Brazilian futsal team for the deaf. “We are paying more attention to her at the beginning. Before training, we present a video and explain how the day’s work will be. Then, we make adjustments. There are at least three training sessions off the field with her”, explains the professionals.

We know that the struggle to include people with PWD is still huge, not only in Brazil, but in all countries, but these are small cases that will make it possible for all people to be included in the professional market (regardless of whether they are sports or not).

The support of the family and the people who are present in the life of a PCD athlete is extremely important, as it helps to show that there is space for everyone.


About the author

Arianne D'Aquino is a publicist, passionate about sports from an early age, when as every Brazilian kid, had her first contact with football. She fights for recognizing gender equality in sport, in addition to pretending that she is a good goalkeeper in football.

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