MINNEAPOLIS, MN - March 27, 2018 - Danny Lilya was born with a broken back, but did not let that stop him from pursuing his dream of playing football. The Moose Lake High School junior will receive the Courage Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation. He will be recognized at the 11th Annual Minnesota Football Honors on April 29 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Lilya, paralyzed from the waist down, has never walked. He has undergone many surgeries for his spine and feet. But Lilya grew up as a fan of the Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels, and always wanted to play for them. He fulfilled that goal as a sophomore in 2016 when he took the field as a holder. Lilya wheeled onto the field, got out of his chair, knelt down, caught the snap and held the ball for the Rebels’ kicker. His holds helped the Rebels make the state tournament in 2017.
“Danny is a remarkable young man and student-athlete,” Rebels coach Dave Louzek said. “He is determined to be able to contribute to the team despite his disability. As our extra point/field goal holder, Danny has proven that everyone has a role to play and when you embrace that role, success follows--both for the team and the individual. Danny's contribution is much larger than he realizes. He is a leader and an inspiration to all who follow him.”
Football is only one of the four sports Lilya plays. He plays for the Minnesota Wild’s competitive sled hockey team, has participated in Team USA developmental camp and has Paralympic aspirations. Lilya has also played softball for the Rolling Twins and competed in high school track races in his wheelchair.
Lilya received the NFHS National High School Spirit of Sport Award in 2017. His story has drawn media coverage and inspired many people.
The Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation will host the 11th Annual Minnesota Football Honors on Sunday, April 29, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium. The event is presented by the Minnesota Vikings and is the largest football awardsevent in Minnesota. Doors open at 2 p.m. for the 4 p.m. event. The event is open to the public. Tickets are on sale now. For tickets and additional information about this year’s Minnesota Football Honors, please visit www.minnesotafootballhonors.com. For sponsorship information, please email email@example.com.
About the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation:
The Minnesota Chapter of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and develop the power of amateur football in developing the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive spirit and academic excellence in Minnesota’s young people. The MN Chapter recognizes legendary football icons, college football Hall of Famers and Minnesota’s top high school and college football scholar athletes. For more information, visit www.nffmn.org, Facebook or Twitter.
Lindsay Lommel, Event Manager
MN Chapter of The National Football Foundation
Tag(s): Upcoming Event