Press Release - For Immediate Release
Contact: Heather Weishaar, Outreach Director
[email protected]/708.588.2282

American Ninja Warrior’s ‘Deaf Ninja’ to Speak at Chicago Conference

La Grange – As a three-time competitor on the popular television show American Ninja Warrior, Kyle Schulze, also known as the ‘Deaf Ninja’, has spent his life overcoming obstacles. Born with a bilateral severe hearing loss, Kyle uses hearing aids, American Sign Language (ASL) and has spent 16 years working with a speech therapist in order to hone his verbal language skills.

While growing up, Kyle found himself being bullied and struggled to figure out who he was and what he wanted to do. He eventually found his niche in athletics and immersed himself in various recreational programs like karate, soccer, and swimming, through his school and local park district, specifically the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) in Carol Stream, Illinois. Years later he found himself participating in mud races and rock climbing, which eventually led him to being on national television for American Ninja Warrior.

The Illinois Park & Recreation Association is thrilled to have Kyle speak as a headliner of our ‘Inspire’ track of professional development workshops at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference in January 2020. Kyle’s session, ‘Seeing Your Obstacles as Opportunities: A Fireside Chat with Kyle Schulze’ will focus on challenges he has faced throughout his life and how these experiences have shaped him.

‘We are so excited to have Kyle join us at conference and to share his inspiring story with others. Not only does his story resonate with us because of his extensive accomplishments, but his story also speaks to the value of growing up with park and recreation agencies and special recreation associations for people with disabilities. With that kind of a foundation behind him, Kyle had the support he needed to launch his incredible adventure.’ – Debbie Trueblood, IPRA Executive Director

The IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference is the premier state conference for parks and recreation, forest preserves and conservation agencies in Illinois. The IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference brings together more than 4,000 professionals and elected officials for three exciting days of quality educational programming, networking and professional development.

Established in 1944, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s mission is to provide and promote exceptional standards of education, networking, and resources for all professionals in the Illinois park, recreation, and conservation communities. For more information about IPRA, its board and mission, please visit the IPRA website: