Helbig, 21, was born deaf.
He can hear today thanks to a wonders of medical technology called a cochlear implant.
The cochlear is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound. It has been referred to as the bionic ear.
This is what Helbig uses to hear during his everyday life.
But because the implant has some delicate external parts, it is impractical for Helbig to use it when he competes.
When he wrestles, Helbig hears nothing. Whether that is a disadvantage is something he considers debatable.
"Some people think it is hard not being able to hear," Helbig said. "There are good things and bad things.
"One of the advantages to being deaf in wrestling is that you do not have to hear the distractions. You don't hear the noise or boos. You don't have to hear fans trying to tell you what to do.
"You can focus on one thing, the wholeness of the match."
Helbig's is just one of the interesting story lines that will unfold starting today at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center.
By the time the last match is contested Saturday night, 10 NCAA champions will be crowned and 80 wrestlers will earn All-America status.
Like all of the wrestlers here, Helbig, who brings a 22-14 record into his opening match in the 197-pound weight class, dreams of being one of those final eight.
"It is so exciting to be here," said Helbig, a two-time Michigan state champion at Mason High. "The 2007 NCAA Championships were in Detroit [at the Palace in Auburn Hills] and I got to see them live.
"When you see guys become champions, it really motivates you. It makes you work that much harder.
"My goal here is to keep it simple, go 100 percent hard and don't give up anything. To be a top eight would be incredible."
Helbig's deafness was not quickly diagnosed.
Although his father suspected something was wrong with his son's hearing, the doctors kept saying he was not deaf.
"I'd been to the doctor so many times in my first 12 months," said Helbig. "They said I was normal. After my 1-year birthday, they finally said, 'You are deaf.' "
Helbig had hearing aids, but it was not until he was in fourth grade that he had the procedure for the cochlear implants.
"It was exciting, but it was also kind of scary," Helbig recalled. "I realized that I was going to have to start over, learn new sounds.
"A hearing aid and a cochlear implant are two different things. It felt like I had to learn English all over again at the fourth grade."
Helbig said he didn't have any inspiration as far as deaf wrestlers who got him involved in the sport. He said he knows of some deaf wrestlers at lower levels but thinks he is the only one competing in Division I.
Mixed-martial artist Matt Hamill might be the most famous deaf wrestler. He was a three-time NCAA Division III champion while competiting for the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology from 1997-99.
Wyoming coach Mark Branch said that with Helbig's deafness comes challenges, but that they have been minimized by his determination to achieve.
"His whole life, he's overcome whatever disadvantages he had not being able to hear," Branch said. "As a coach, this is my third year, and each year, it becomes more apparent what the disadvantages are."
Even though Helbig is an elite athlete, he still needs coaching, and Branch said that is where a communication breakdown sometimes can occur.
"Honestly, a lot of that is more about me as a coach than L.J.," said Branch, who took over at Wyoming after Helbig had committed. "I've been coaching him for 3 years, and I still learn new things about how to do a better job.
"Sometimes, I'm talking to the team and I forget that he may not be able to hear all of the nuances and technical issues that we discuss.
"I had assumed that because he had his implants in he was getting everything and sometimes, he wasn't. I got on him about midyear and told him if you don't understand something, you've got to let me know.
"What I say is that I was excited about being able to coach L.J., but I honestly did not do a very good job of adjusting right away."
Branch said one thing he has worked on with Helbig is not allowing his deafness to become a crutch.
"I think some of the bad habits he has a competitor come from a lifelong situation of people giving him the benefit of the doubt," Branch said. "Some of things he needs to work on are from things imbedded in him from birth by people giving him a helping hand.
"In this sport, that just doesn't work. I don't care what your disability may be. He has to change some things, but he definitely has the potential to be a very fine wrestler."
Because of his athletic accomplishments, Helbig accepts that his is an inspirational story for other deaf people.
But he acknowledged it sometimes can be a heavy role for a 21-year-old college student.
"My whole life, I tried to be as normal as I could possibly be," he said. "I know I am a role model to some kids who are deaf, because of where I'm at right now."
Surprisingly, he said he occasionally receives backlash from other deaf people because he chooses to lead a life with hearing.
"There are other deaf people my age who have told me I should compete in the Deaflympics [a quadrennial IOC-sanctioned event for elite deaf athletes] instead of the NCAAs.
"Some only use sign language and do not talk. I do not want to be like that. I want to be able to talk like everyone else."
Helbig said he doesn't view his deafness in a negative light, but he still wants to live in a world of sound.
"I'm kind of caught sometimes," he said. "The idea I came up with for me was that my last 2 years in college I have taken classes of sign language. That way, if I come to a deaf person who cannot talk, I am able to sign to them. This way I can talk to everybody."
He already has proven he can wrestle with anybody.
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