MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state tournament is a thrilling time for a high school basketball player. Just getting there is the highlight of the year.

St. Thomas Academy wouldn’t have gotten there this year if not for Eddie Perry. He’s a senior, and a starter, and the Cadets’ defensive stopper always assigned with guarding the other team’s best player.

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That’s even more impressive when you realize what Eddie has overcome.

To a high school basketball player, there’s nothing like the state tournament. There’s the adrenaline, the pep bands and the roar of the crowd. On his own, Eddie Perry, wouldn’t be able to hear any of it.

“I definitely have to look around a lot more,” he said. “Just because of my hearing, because I can’t hear everything, like, I definitely have to look around, see where my guy is, or like see what other teammates are doing, because sometimes they might say ‘screen screen’ but I don’t know I have to look around.”

Eddie has been deaf since birth. He has cochlear implants to help him hear, always wearing a headband to keep them in place. They restore his hearing at about 80 percent.

“But on the court definitely a lot harder with all the background noise,” he said. “So most of the time, I’m reading lips,”

It’s never held him back. Not only is he a leader on the basketball team (next year he’ll play D-I soccer at DePaul) he’s also a company commander at school and has a 3.6 GPA.

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“I give him all the credit in the world when it comes to that, because the kid is just tough,” his coach said. “He’s mentally tough, he’s physically tough.”

And Eddie takes it a step further, to be an example to others.

“I think there’s some kids that kind of withdraw, hold back a little bit,” Eddie said. “And so that’s why I’m trying to help inspire other kids to keep going.”

“You’re going to have to work harder than every other kid, just because you have a hearing loss,” Eddie added. “But in the end it’s going to pay off, you’re gonna make friends, your speech is going to improve, it’s a really wonderful experience if you just go out — even if you’re not the best athlete, it doesn’t matter. You’re just having fun, playing something you love, or doing art, music, doing something you love, it doesn’t matter.”

Eddie Perry is living proof.

“Nothing’s going to hold you back, if you just go for it. ”

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Eddie also volunteers at a deaf school to help other kids growing up like him.