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Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: February 29, 1:04 AM ET
18 Under 18: Conner Svetly

By Ryan Canner-O'Mealy
ESPNHS Magazine

Conner Svetly
Junior Conner Svetly is a defensive lineman for state champion Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) despite being profoundly deaf and having two internally implanted cochlear implants so he can hear.

ESPNHS honors 18 male teen athletes who are doing remarkable things on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Click here to read about them.

Two players dominated the headlines for Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) this past year. There was Davonte' Neal, the electrifying Notre Dame-bound wide receiver, the No. 8 player in the ESPNU 150. Throwing the ball to Neal was Texas-bound quarterback Connor Brewer, the No. 130 player in the ESPNU 150. So it's no surprise that the Firebirds won their third consecutive state championship and finished No. 20 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

But there was another great story lurking beneath the surface. Conner Svetly, a reserve defensive lineman for Chaparral, won't be playing big-time college ball or making it to the NFL. But his ability to overcome adversity while excelling on and off the field makes him an ideal candidate for this list.

Only 16, Svetly didn't start playing football until his freshman year because his parents feared for his safety. They weren't being overprotective -- Svetly is profoundly deaf and has two internally implanted cochlear implants so he can hear. When his surgeon gave him the go-ahead to play football, his parents relented.

In addition to playing sports, Svetly has a 4.3 GPA and wants to become a doctor. He's also a volunteer at Desert Voices Oral Learning Center, a school for deaf children.