Jodie Ounsley, Patron of The Elizabeth Foundation for preschool deaf children
Jodie Ounsley

Rugby and Gladiators’ TV star Jodie Ounsley is a Patron of The Elizabeth Foundation.

Jodie, the first deaf female rugby player to be selected for an international rugby sevens squad, was born profoundly deaf. She attended weekly sessions at The Elizabeth Foundation as a youngster before moving to a mainstream school aged four-and-a-half.

“The Elizabeth Foundation has done so much for me and it was an easy decision to make when they asked if I’d like to get involved,” says Jodie, who was an athletics and ju-jitsu champion before making her England Sevens rugby debut.

“I’m completely deaf in both ears and wear a cochlear implant. I first went to The Elizabeth Foundation when I was three months old and they ‘kick-started’ my communication and speech.’

“Communication is a big thing, especially in rugby. I’m really passionate about not letting hearing hold you back and am delighted to have this chance to promote the charity in any way I can.”

Jodie has enjoyed success in the England Sevens Women’s team, and represented Sale Sharks before moving to Exeter Chiefs Women in rugby’s Allianz Premier 15s. She was crowned as Deaf Sports Personality of the Year in 2020.

April 2024 update:  After appearing as Fury in the BBC’s reboot of the iconic television show “Gladiators” early in 2024 (available on BBC iPlayer), Jodie has announced her retirement from professional ruby to focus on other opportunities.  

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