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Sports

February 9, 2012

Bringing justice to the hardwood

Comeau top performer at Salem State despite disabilities

When Breanna Comeau's Salem State University teammates scream at her on the basketball court, it's a show of their compassion more than anything else.

Comeau was born deaf in her left ear. The Amesbury High alumna was also diagnosed with dyslexia shortly after starting school.

Neither of Comeau's disabilities have limited her noticeably at Salem State, where she is putting the finishing touches on a four-year basketball career. Comeau, a two-year starting center, will likely earn a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic Team selection this winter for the second year in a row.

"Am I surprised by how well she's done?" said Tom Comeau, Breanna's father. "I guess I am a little bit. When she sets her mind to something, she doesn't let anything get in her way."

Comeau is averaging 10.0 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game for the Vikings (9-13 overall, 5-4 MASCAC). She has been the team's leading rebounder in 12 of 22 games. She had what was arguably her best game of the season Tuesday in a 71-60 loss to Framingham State, logging 17 points and 12 rebounds.

"It's been great," Comeau said of her collegiate career. "The last two years I've been starting. We struggled after (former All American) Danielle Jenkins graduated (in 2010). We picked it back up this year with a new coach (Michelle Cunningham)."

According to Breanna's father, his daughter's hearing impairment is hardly an obstacle in her day-to-day life. Comeau typically sits in the front of her classes and uses special audio software to read text aloud. She relies on her teammates to call out defensive rotations slightly louder than they normally would.

"Honestly, I think it's made her a little more determined," Tom Comeau said. "She goes about her business. That's how she likes it. She only lets people know about it when it's a problem. In school, she'll sit on the side of the class so the good ear is facing the teacher. She tells her teammates to yell at her louder so she hears what's going on."

Comeau plans to graduate with a degree in criminal justice in May. She hopes to become a state police officer after college.

"I'm thinking state police," Comeau said. "It's something I've always wanted to do, so that's what I have my heart set on."

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