Eddie Warren refused to let a difficult situation keep him from following his passion.
Eddie was born with two deformed legs that would prevent him from ever being able to walk. His great-grandmother suggested that Eddie and his mother, Wanda, visit Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Springfield because of the hospital’s expertise in prosthetics. Eddie and his mother met with David M. Drvaric, M.D., chief of staff at the hospital and were taken away by the personal care and attention they received.
“The environment at Shriners Hospital was truly incredible,” said Eddie’s mother. “When you walk into the building, you get the feeling that everybody genuinely loves what they do.”
When Eddie was 11 months old he had surgery to amputate both of his legs so he could be fitted for the prosthetics.
Eddie always had a strong passion for sports, but was hesitant to participate in them. His mother inspired him to believe anything was achievable in life, which led Eddie to start playing football at the age of ten.
It proved to be good advice. By his junior year at Sacopee Valley High School in Maine, Eddie played defensive end and kicker for the football team, shooting guard on the basketball team and was a first baseman and pitcher for the baseball team. All of Eddie’s teammates looked up to him because of the hard work and resilience he displayed every day in practice.
In July of 2010, Eddie’s proudest moment occurred when he was selected to the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic to play the kicker position. The game not only features the best high school football players in the state of Maine, it also benefits Shriners Hospitals for Children®. Eddie would be playing for the same organization that helped make it possible for him to play the sport he loved.
With five minutes left in the game, Eddie’s team scored a touchdown and he was brought in to kick an extra point to tie the score. Because of three straight penalties called on his team, the extra point would be kicked from 40 yards. Right before Eddie was about to kick the ball, the whole stadium began chanting “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!”
“The situation was so intense, I was practically brought to tears,” said Eddie. “I couldn’t even look after I kicked it.”
The football went through the uprights and the whole stadium erupted. According to Eddie, even the coach from the opposing team rooted for him. The kick would be one for the history books – it was the longest extra point in any Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl game.
“The game wasn’t about winning or losing,” said Eddie. “It was about the kids and helping the organization that means everything to me.”
Eddie, 19, currently plays on a semi-pro New England football team. In addition, after seeing first-hand as a patient the life-changing work Shriners do for children, Eddie plans on joining the fraternity along with his step-father.
As for his future, Eddie plans on having a career in sports where he can inspire kids and let them know that despite obstacles, anything in life is possible.
Photo: Eddie Warren takes in some kicking practice. At the Maine Shrine Bowl, he scored the longest extra point of any Maine Shrine Bowl game.