Bobcat Stadium was a site of history for the Texas State football program during its home opener against Prairie View A&M on Sept. 12. But it wasn’t for setting any game or attendance records.
For the first time ever at Texas State, a section of the stands at Bobcat Stadium was reserved for members of the deaf community and those fluent in American Sign Language.
Fifteen to 20 people sat in the section near the 40-yard line during the 63-24 win by the Bobcats, but the section istelf can seat up to 1,000 fans.
Former Texas State player Brian Guendling advocated for the section because he wanted to deaf fans to feel welcomed and included.
“I feel like hearing people look over the deaf community a lot. And we’re all human beings,” Guendling told local Texas station KXAN. “They’re no different than anybody else, so I just wanted to provide equal opportunity for everybody to enjoy the football games.”
Fun time with a few of my deaf friends in the deaf section on a great Bobcat win!!! Won 63-24! Go cats Go! pic.twitter.com/B92TiCCvTH— Brian Guendling (@BrianGuendling) September 13, 2015
According to KXAN, Texas State confirmed there are 32 deaf and hard-of-hearing students currently attending the university. While Guendling himself isn't deaf, he has been an advocate since his childhood and learned sign language when he was younger.
The stadium section wasn't the first time he did something for the deaf community during his time at Texas State. He performed a sign language concert to "Uptown Funk," which went viral back in July.
Guendling said he hopes that the section can spread to other sporting events at Texas State and across to other universities as well.