LAKE MARY, Fla. - One of the biggest hometown rivalries was drawing fans to the gridiron on Friday, as Seminole High School played host to Lake Mary.
FOX 35 Sports Anchor Adam Shadoff caught up with a very important member of the Rams team. Nick Hamel is a recent graduate and now works as a volunteer scout for the football team.
"They're always there for me, always have my back, and I'm always there for them and I have their back," said Hamel.
If you've ever been to a Lake Mary High School football game you know he means that. He's at every single game on the sidelines, helping out the team as a scout and cheering on his beloved Rams.
Hamel was born with spina bifida, a congenital condition where a baby's spine and spinal cord do not develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine.
Hamel has had dozens of surgeries and setbacks over the course of his 26 years.
"Overcome them all. Beat out the odds to live and recover every time," he said.
It's one of the reasons the Rams players and the coaches like having Hamel around, to bring perspective.
As much as Hamel does for this Lake Mary team, the community has done just as much if not more for him. In fact, his dad, Randy, said the Lake Mary community may have played a big role in saving his son's life.
"The surgeries -- where Nick went into a coma and didn't have much to live -- I called Lake Mary, I called Coach Perry and he asked 'What can do we do?' I said, 'Just come' and in a matter like a half-hour the whole lobby was filled with Lake Mary coaches, administrators students," Randy explained. "It was amazing, and about four hours later I'm falling asleep, and I was just holding his hand. I thought I was dreaming -- someone was touching, patting my hand looked up and Nick had come out of his coma."
Randy said that says everything about the Lake Mary community and it should serve as an inspiration to others.
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