FSU’s Becker a bridge to deaf community

Carlos Becker playing against Boise State.
Photo courtesy 247 Sports

Carlos Becker, a defensive back for Florida State, is best known for his interception that sealed the 2016 Orange Bowl win for the Seminoles.

For his first two years of college Becker was also a track star, earning multiple Atlantic Coast Conference honors. 

Around campus he is known as the class clown whose easygoing spirit is enjoyed by many. But there is something not a lot of people know about Carlos Becker: He is a member of the deaf community because he is a CODA.

“I’m a CODA and that means child of a deaf adult. Sign language is my first language. I didn’t start speaking English until I was in elementary school,” Becker said. 

A CODA in the deaf community is someone who is born to at least one deaf parent. According to the Marymount University Disability Studies, 90 percent of children born to deaf parents can hear normally. This makes them serve as the connection between the deaf and hearing worlds, a role that plenty of bilingual children also assume. 

When dealing with a reoccurring ankle injury that sidelined him during the 2018 football season, Becker relied on has extensive knowledge of deaf culture to occupy the time he would’ve spent on the field. 

By tutoring in his free time, Becker has helped many people meet their goal in learning American Sign Language, including a woman who plans to use it while pursuing a career in medicine. 

Every week Becker would meet his friend Richannah Chin at a local coffee shop to tutor her in ASL. Both hoped that their time spent together would have a big impact on others. The two friends hope that their continuous work will encourage others to learn and break the barrier, normalizing sign language.  

“He’s a great tutor. He takes everything slow, if I need help with anything he will show me multiple times until I get it. I’m doing physical therapy, so in case one of my clients is deaf or hearing impaired I’ll be able to communicate with them. This is why my lessons from Carlos are so important to me,” Chin said.

On Aug. 31, Becker made his comeback to the field against Boise State and had a breakout game despite the Seminoles’ loss. He forced a fumble, had two sacks and two tackles for a loss. 

Although Becker rehabilitated and regained the strength to play he still hasn’t lost sight of what he set out to do. He plans on using his stature and platform as an athlete to bring more awareness to CODA and the deaf community.