Mark Hernandez of Centennial High was born with cerebral palsy but also a passion for football

Mark Hernandez was born with cerebral palsy, a severe physical condition which bound him to a wheelchair as a child. But he was also born with a passion for football. Mark joined the Centennial High Football team as a freshman and has been a Golden Hawk cornerback for 4 years.

“He went from a wheelchair to a walker, to walking,” Mark’s father Miguel told 23ABC on Thursday, “he has accomplished so much. This is his dream, this is his life."

“I don't see Mark as being part of the team, I see him as being the team,” coach Kevin Sneed said, “I think he's the focal point of everybody who's out here including the coaches."

“Physically he's disabled but mentally he's there,” senior cornerback Khaliel Shagog said, “he's just like us so we treat him like he's one of us. We love him."

Mark's passion and dedication is clear for all to see. Though he only participates in a handful of plays all year, Mark is there suited up for every practice, every camp and every game.

“This is his dream. Playing football is his dream,” Miguel Hernandez explained, “and you can see it in his face how happy he is."

“I love them," Mark told 23ABC when asked about his team mates, “they love me too.”

“We can see his special needs,” coach Sneed continued, “there are kids on this campus that you can't see their needs and yet they have them. And when you know there are kids who have special needs, they should all be treated like we treat Mark. And I've told my team several times, if we all love each other like we love Mark, this would be a much better world."

Near the end of the game at Centennial's homecoming this year, Mark's number was called. Number 2 was lined up at wide receiver.

“At the end of the game we put him in on offense and we put him in on the 30 yard line,” coach Sneed described Mark’s series, “and all the kids and all the people saw it. Everybody at homecoming, it was just a huge roar and after the play was over, they ran out and picked him up."

“It was amazing, I loved it," Mark said of the experience.

“I can't explain it with words,” Miguel Hernandez said, “It's just the greatest feeling that a father can feel for his son."
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