Football dream comes true for Wareham student fighting muscular dystrophy

By Matthew Bernat | May 30, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Adrien Leonard and his father George pose for a photograph with the official letter of intent Adrien signed with the UMass Dartmouth football team.

As the UMass Dartmouth football team’s newest recruit, 13-year-old Adrien Leonard isn’t the fastest or strongest player. However, there’s no doubt he has the most heart.

The Wareham Middle School student is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, which confines him to a wheelchair. Last month, Adrien – a huge sports fan – fulfilled one of his dreams by signing a letter of intent with the college, becoming a member of the team.

He admits to being caught off guard at the surprise signing ceremony.

“I didn’t even read it,” said Adrien. “I was just so happy I signed it.”

The letter makes him an official player and he must abide by some rules, including attending a few practices each month and maintaining good grades.

After the ceremony, Adrien received an official jersey and helmet that he wears when watching sports. His favorite football team, by the way, is the Steelers, which doesn’t sit well with his father George.

“He gets me going when he talks about the Steelers because I’m a true Patriots fan,” said George, adding they both enjoy watching football and basketball together.

George said his son's honor was arranged by Fragile Footprints. The program, sponsored by Jordan Hospital and Cranberry Hospice and Palliative Care, helps meets the needs of children with life-limiting illnesses.

He praised the program and the players on the UMass team for truly making his son feel like a teammate. This summer, some of the players have plans to attend a baseball game with Adrien.

“It really is an awesome program,” said George.

Adrien was asked to pick a team and settled on UMass Dartmouth because that’s where his sister, Latisha Medeiros, graduated from this spring with a degree in the sciences.

Adrien said he hopes to follow in his sister’s footsteps.

“She chose her major because she wants to find a cure for muscular dystrophy,” said Adrien. “I want to go for the same reason.”

Comments (2)
Posted by: Snowman | May 31, 2017 11:26

Congratulations Adrien!

Posted by: Archangel | May 31, 2017 17:16

Great story!

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