HOWELL-Megan Friedman was a rising star as a cross country runner at Howell High School and would have been her team’s varsity captain again, but instead chose to play football with the boys because of her love for the sport. Her career in the sport was cut short by an acl/mcl injury. Now she’s being chosen to compete for the New York Giants “Heart of a Giant” football award.
The 2019 USA Football Heart of a Giant Award presented by Hospital for Special Surgery and NY Giants announced their second set of ten outstanding Tri-State area high school football player nominees open for voting. These students have been nominated by their coaches for their commitment, teamwork, will, character and dedication.
Voting for these nominees will be open for 25 days with final vote tally determining who will be named the group’s finalist. One grand prize winner will be selected based on video submissions stating why they have the Heart of a Giant and will be honored on the field during a New York Giants’ home game. All six finalists and four honorable mention finalists will receive $1,000 for their high school’s football program, with the winner’s school getting an additional $9,000.
For more information on the program, click here.
To Megan Friedman, having the Heart of a Giant means standing strong and always having the will to believe in yourself. Friedman gained this strong will by standing up to the people who preached “girls don’t play football.” “I knew if I showed up everyday and worked as hard as I could, I could be a player equal to the boys on the field; I told myself I was playing a sport like any other athlete on the field and everyday I gave it 100%,” says Friedman. Although Friedman truly loves football, she started her athletic career as a successful and hard-working cross country and track athlete. She was told to continue to run cross country, where she would have been named captain like the three previous years. Instead, she decided to follow her love for football. Unfortunately while building relationships with her teammates and coaches, training, and learning more about the sport she loves, Friedman tore her ACL and meniscus; season ending injuries. Head Coach Luke Sinkhorn adds, “Megan has not wavered in her dedication to the team. She is at most of our events and practices outside of her physical therapy and has provided inspiration and motivation for the coaches and players to continue to work hard.” Friedman says although she won’t be playing football anymore, the will and tenacity it required is as useful a skill off the field as it was on.