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4-Foot-5, 95-Pound Football Player Doesn’t Let Size Stand in the Way of His Dreams

Meet Adam Reed, a 17-year-old, 4-foot-5, 95-pound high school senior who despite his short stature made his high school’s varsity football team. Adam may be only the fifth-string running back for Plantation American Heritage school’s nationally ranked football team, but he’s actually their star player, with fans always lining up to take photographs with him at the end of every game.

At 4-5 and 95 pounds, Reed isn’t exactly the poster boy for American football. The biggest player on his team, in comparison, is Tedarrell Slaton, who stands at 6-6 and a whopping 338 pounds. In fact, Reed is nowhere close to the second smallest player in the team, Jason Heinstkill, who measures 5-8 and weighs 146 pounds. But he’s got more grit and determination in him than most players twice his size. “I’m a little undersized,” he said, nonchalantly. “But it’s whatever. I don’t let my size stop me from doing anything.”

According to Reed’s mother Lisa, he’s been passionate about football since childhood. “He started playing flag football at 5 years old, but it was no big deal back then because there was no tackling. He was always a strong and fast kid, but I never realised how good he was. When he said he wanted to continue playing, I said go for it.” Reed ended up playing on middle school and junior varsity teams at Heritage since the sixth grade, and got on the JV squad in high school as well. But making the high-school varsity cut proved challenging.

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Photo: Adam Reed/Twitter

“When my friends moved up to varsity and I was still on JV, I got discouraged and felt like I did all that work for nothing,” he said. “It just made me work harder so the coaches would have to move me up.” And eventually, they did. Reed attended every off season meeting, workout, and practice, catching the attention of coach Mike Rumph, who finally gave him a place on the team.

“It’s special to see somebody that diminutive, being dealt a tough hand, coming out here and working just like any other person,” said Patrick Surtain, defensive coordinator at Heritage. “We don’t even look at Adam like that because he’s Adam to us, because he puts in the work like everybody else. He doesn’t want anything handed to him. He wants to earn it. And so far, he has. It’s good to have somebody like that on your team.”

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Photo: Miami Herald/YouTube

Reed, who scored a touchdowns in a few games on the JV, has played in four varsity games this year, carrying the ball five times for 13 yards. At the start of the season, Rumph had said that he definitely had plans to get Reed involved in the game, “because he sacrificed the way everybody else sacrificed.”

“Adam has always been a 10-rep kid, when I ask for 10 reps, he gives me 12,” he added. “He makes my job easy. He’s very coachable; he doesn’t just get in the game, he gets in the play. Some kids you have to tell them the same thing over and over again. Not Adam – he’s one of those kids that learns the first time you tell him something.”

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Photo: Adam Reed/Twitter

Reed, through sheer hard work and his love for the game, has managed to earn the respect of his teammates as well. “He’s been at American Heritage since third grade, so to his teammates, he’s just another kid on the football team,” Lisa said. But some of the kids on the team did have a few reservations before they saw him play. “I’m not going to lie; when I first saw him it was kind of shocking,” said junior tailback Kyshaun Bryan. “Now that I got to know him, he’s pretty cool. He does everything we do and has an even bigger heart. His size doesn’t matter. He’s like one of us.”

And according to Rumph, Center Justice Silver is one of Adam’s biggest fans. “He’s always telling me: ‘Come on, coach, put Adam in; I’ve got his back.’”

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Photo: CBS video caption

Reed, who was adopted when he was only two days old, never grew at the same rate as other babies. Lisa consulted various doctors and endocrinologists, but she could never find an explanation for his condition. “Unofficially, the best answer we’ve got is his body doesn’t know what to do with his growth hormone,” she said. “We honestly know nothing about Adam’s parents or medical history. But I’m a firm believer that I was meant to be his mom. As soon as I had him in my arms, I fell in love with him.”

“It hasn’t all been peachy keen,” she added. “He’s cried, been upset about his height. But I said to him, ‘This is just the way you are, and this is just part of life.’ Thank God you can walk, run, and scream and play. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” And Reed seems to have taken that lesson to heart – all he wants is to win a championship ring, and play his part in football, whatever that might be.

Reed is now busy filling out college applications, but he doubts if he’ll get any football offers. “I’d like to, of course, but I understand if I don’t,” he said.

But Coach Rumph does have his eye on Reed, and might just have a job waiting for him in the future. “I would love to have him on my coaching staff one day,” he said. “Who better to coach and teach someone to never give up than someone who’s been doing it his whole life?”

 

Sources: Miami Herald, ESPN

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