During a visit to a New Orleans hospital along with several of his teammates prior to their appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia, Texas All-Conference tight end Andrew Beck shared a moment with an unfortunate family that has since gone viral. Beck, a corporate communication major, who has developed an interest in sign language as part of his degree requirement, came across and hearing impaired family during the visit and began communicating with them via sign language.
Beck stayed and communicated with the family in their room for a while after being told by a nurse that the family has not been able to talk to many people at the hospital because there are few members of the staff that know sign language, according to NOLA.
“The best part was seeing the surprise on their face,” Beck said. “It was cool.”
Beck and his teammates had been at the hospital to visit patients, sign autographs, and hand out Texas gear, but when Beck realized that the family was hearing impaired he signed to them “My name is Andrew Beck,” then asked each of them their names and how they were doing, according to Yahoo Sports, before signing and giving the family Texas and Sugar Bowl gear.
“To be able to go in and be somebody that they can talk to that’s not related to them was really cool,” Beck told Hook ‘Em.
Beck gained an affinity for sign language after taking a class as part of his degree requirement. He enjoyed the class so much, that he took another, and eventually became so proficient that he could maintain full conversations with members of the hearing impaired community. Beck hopes to keep his signing skills sharp, even after college, and had previously used his ability to communicate with players and staff during a recent visit with the Texas School for the Deaf football team.
Coaches met with the team and family members for pre-game meal. We were glad to have UT Longhorn 47 Andrew Beck join us to meet the team and wish them luck. pic.twitter.com/KUwlADEDt8
— TSD Rangers (@TSDAthletics) November 24, 2018
The moment in the New Orleans hospital was captured on video and posted by the Sugar Bowl on their Twitter feed, where it quickly went viral with well over a million views and caught the attention of a number of celebrities who expressed their appreciation for Beck’s human qualities.
Houston Texans All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt saw the video and retweeted it on his own account, along with the message that “This is awesome.” Beck’s mother saw Watt’s comment and shared it with her son.
“She’s more excited about that than anybody,” Beck said.
This is awesome https://t.co/o6VtjXyOOd
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) December 29, 2018
Georgia receiver Jeremiah Holloman was also impressed by his upcoming opponent, retweeting the video with “Tons of respect.”
Tons of respect ✊???? https://t.co/YEtDewuHg8
— Jeremiah Holloman (@Obey_Classics) December 29, 2018
Beck, a two-year captain of the Texas football team, appreciated the attention gained as it illustrated to him the potential impact that athletes could have by using their platform for good.
“It is incredible to have the opportunity to promote and impact people in the deaf community,” Beck said. “It raises awareness to people outside of the deaf community who not aware of the things they go through.”