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HS Football Coach With No Arms or Legs Honored at ESPYs

Over the years, the ESPY Awards haven’t been without moments of inspiration, as countless athletes have recalled their hard-fought journeys to excellence.

But Wednesday’s ceremony featured a presentation that topped them all when a high school football coach was given the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. The award’s recipient, 31-year-old Rob Mendez, was born without arms or legs.

Despite his handicap, Mendez learned football by playing the John Madden video game, worked his way to become the manager of his high school team and rose through the ranks to become the junior varsity coach at Prospect High School in Saratoga, California. In his first season as coach, he led the team to an 8-2 record.

“Wow, can’t believe I’m here,” said Mendes in front of some the world’s biggest athletes and stars.

He was introduced to the stage by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and even got to snap a picture with World Cup star, Megan Rapinoe.

Earlier this year, Mendez was featured in the ESPN special, “Who Says I Can’t?” which chronicled his journey. He hopes to one day be a varsity coach.

“If there’s any message I want to give you guys tonight is…when you focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do, you really can go places in this world.” He then closed out his speech with the chant he leads his team in. “I’m not done yet, I’ve made it this far, and who says I can’t go further? Who says I can’t? Nobody!”

You can check out Rob’s full ESPY speech in the video featured above.

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