TAMPA (FOX 13) - Plant High School's football team cherishes the memories from their week at Muscular Dystrophy Camp. It's an experience that has left a lasting impression on the players and coaches.
"Honestly, I was nervous and scared," said senior safety Clay Hancher. "Because the kids at MDA don't have all the abilities that we have. In my opinion, the kids are stronger than we are. They want to do everything they can. I'm truly blessed coming out of it and I want to do it again next year."
For 37 years, Coach Robert Weiner has spent part of his summers at MDA Camp, and for the last 13 he's brought his team along for the life-altering experience.
"In football we are always looking for them to be at their best and, as driving coaches, we never seem to get there," smiled Coach Weiner. "At Muscular Dystrophy Camp, I really get a chance to see them at their best. To really impact someone else's life in a positive way."
One of the most valuable lessons that the Plant players took with them from the MDA Camp is: Football is not a right, it's a privilege.
A week after returning to their summer program, Plant's players have a different perspective while at practices.
"We practice different," said Weiner. "We workout different, our leadership is different. Guys telling other guys, 'You kidding me? You're gonna sit there and moan and groan and complain about a rep because it's too hot out there? You know, I just worked with a kid who maybe will only live two or three more years, who can't move any part of his body except for his face and his hands, who can't even turn over in the middle of the night because he's uncomfortable.'"
They say the rewards are far-reaching and there's a great appreciation coming from the campers and the players.