YONKERS, N.Y. -- Lincoln High School football player Jeremiah Minyard was honored last month with the Heart of a Giant Award.
From the moment he was born, Minyard's determination and courage showed that he truly had a huge heart.
Minyard was honored on Dec. 28 with the award by Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants. He received a trophy and the school received a $5,000 grant for the football team. A video of Minyard's story is online.
When he was born, Minyard could not breathe and required six hours of oxygen on a respirator. There was a possibility he could not breathe on his own and his parents were told he might not live another 24 hours.
The complications at birth left Minyard facing severe physical challenges. He has hearing and vision issues, and processing and developmental delays.
Despite his handicaps, Minyard is an honor roll student and a four-year starter for the Lincoln football team. He helped the Lancers to an 8-1 mark in 2014, and was the Defensive Player of the Game in a 42-0 win over archrival Yonkers High School.
""His work ethic is unbelievable,'' coach Robert Bannister said in the video. "He never missed a practice. It's unlike anything I've seen in life or in my 27 years of coaching. He has always been the first one there and the last one out."
Minyard, a three-sport athlete, is also a member of the school's Marine Corps Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps, active in his youth ministry, participates in community volunteer organizations and interned at a college placement office. He also was an assistant coach for a 12-and-under football team sponsored by the North Yonkers Boys & Girls Club.
The Heart of a Giant award honors commitment, determination, will, character and teamwork. Minyard was one of six weekly finalists eligible for the grand prize. Rye Neck's Chris Richart was also a Heart of a Giant finalist.
Minyard said a quote from NBA legend Michael Jordan has been one of his life's guiding principles. "I missed over 9,000 shots. I lost almost 300 games. In 26 games, I was asked to make the game-winning shot. But I failed, over and over again. That is why I succeed,'' Minyard said, quoting Jordan.
"It shows that even though you may struggle with your failures in life and in school and in sports, you know you can always have success. That quote has inspired me to become who I am."
The Heart of a Giant Award was sponsored by the New York Giants, Hospital for Special Surgery and USA Football.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.