MAHOPAC, N.Y. -- An amazing 17-year-old Mahopac High School student received a great surprise at school on Monday -- USA Football's Heart of a Giant Award presented by Giant's favorite Rashad Jennings, according to the Daily News.
The award recognizes high school football players within the Tri-State area that demonstrate unparalleled work ethic and a real passion for the game.
The Mahopac resident wrote on the USA Football's website how having the “Heart of a Giant” applies to him: “Most people do not really notice it at first glance, but I was born missing my left hand,’’ he wrote. “My entire life people have been giving me strange looks, doubting me, and trying to shake my confidence, but it is my dedication that allowed me to defy their negativity and persevere. I have been playing football since kindergarten. I started with flag then moved on to tackle in third grade. I love this game and have been working out for football since I was in seventh grade. Ever since then, my desire to beat the odds and play the game that I love has always outweighed the doubts people have about me.”
Jennings, said on Twitter -- "It was amazing to surprise the 2016 Hospital for Special Surgery USA Football #HeartofaGiant winner Charlie Burt."
Burt found out he was the winner when Jennings surprised him and his classmates at the school. The talented center will also be recognized during Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, reported the Daily News.
The team captain, Burt missed time last season when he suffered an MCL tear late in preseason practice. The normal recovery time is six months for such an injury, but Burt returned in a month.
“Shortly after my devastating injury, my brother's best friend passed away at just 12 years old after a long, hard battle with cancer,’’ Burt wrote. “His spirit has been a driving force in my life since I met him and I firmly believe that he is one of the major reasons I was able to turn a six-month recovery into just a one-month process by always believing and never doubting in my abilities. It was this very concept that allowed me to work my way back into the starting rotation after my injury. The ‘fight until the end’ mentality that I learned from him is a lesson that I will use my entire life.”Tenn.
After the announcement, Jennings took questions from students, but not before praising Burt for how he had mastered the craft of football under such difficult odds, said the Daily News.
Reporter Tom Renner contributed to this report.
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