LYNDHURST, N.J. -- A football player from Lyndhurst High School who dedicates his free time to helping athletes with special needs is up for an award from the New York Giants.
Running back and linebacker Michael Carrino was named a finalist in the USA Football Heart of a Giant Award, presented by the NY Giants and Hospital for Special Surgery.
Carrino was nominated by his coach Rich Tuero for his dedication to coaching Special Angels Recreation.
"Every week for the past seven years I've worked with Special Angels," said Carrino, 17, a senior at LHS.
He said they practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and have games on Saturdays. He coaches both flag football and basketball.
The league hosts children of all ages throughout Bergen County with a range of disabilities.
"My dad is one of the ones who started the programs and I helped him since I was young," he said. "Just helping another person and teaching them something new everyday is satisfying."
He not only helps out as a coach but also during their annual parties, playing the part of the Easter Bunny and Christmas Elf.
"This organization is a great group of young children and adolescents who have to work so hard in life to accomplish just a small task that we routinely perform," he said in his online nomination essay. "Working with the Special Angels organization since I was a young kid has shown me what true adversity is. ... I have made it my personal mission to help each one of these Athletes reach their potential while having a great time doing it."
Carrino is one of the eight finalists and was nominated based on his commitment, teamwork, will and dedication.
Each of the finalists received $1,500 for their high school’s football program, with the winner’s school getting an additional $3,500.
Carrino is hoping to play football in college. "A few coaches have come to talk to me so I'm just waiting," he said, noting his first choice is Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The Heart of a Giant Award winner will be announced on Dec. 12 and honored on the field during the Dec. 18 Giants vs. Lions home game.
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