Delta Charter Sophomore with Cerebral Palsy Gears Up for Start of Football Season

TRACY -- The high school football season is only a week away but this year is probably going to mean a lot more to one particular player at Delta Charter High School in Tracy.

Joe Giardina has found happiness and it's with his teammates, working hard on the football field ahead of their season opener next Friday.

"Like, it makes me proud that I am playing but I don't want to be special just because I'm playing with one arm," the sophomore told FOX40.

"I don't want Joe to be that player with cerebral palsy," said his mother, Tammy Giardina. "I want Joe to be that football player that also has cerebral palsy."

Last year, as a freshman, Joe did not play much at all. He was much smaller than he is now and the limited movement in his right arm made it difficult to find him the right position on the field.

"We had him at receiver but he was a pretty tiny guy and we had some talent at receiver as well," said head coach Jeff Tilton.

It will be the second season of football at Delta Charter High School. The Dragons will open their brand new field in September and they'll do it with Joe as the starting center.

"I'm better at catching the ball. But I know what they think is the best for me and if they think I'm good at hiking the ball and blocking then that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna hike the ball and block," Joe said.

"You know, we talked to his regular doctor, his neurologist and got the clearance," Tammy Giardina said. "So he's like ... I'd rather he be in a position where he's not taking a lot of hits because he does have epilepsy as a result, so he does have seizures. So we really want to protect his head. He's got enough going on in there."

"When I get a good snap, I get a good handoff. When I get a good snap, I get a good throw. I just have to have a good feel for the ball and he sets all that up," said quarterback Robert C.

Like the saying goes, he's no ordinary Joe for the Dragon's varsity team.

"It's life and life is too short," Tammy Giardina said. "And I'm not going to take this away from him."

"And proving people wrong about who doubted me and stuff. That makes me hungry for more," Joe said.