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Camden player is Rudy Award semi-finalist
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It certainly isn’t common to ask Bradwell Institute fans to support one of the Tigers’ Region 3-AAAAA rivals. However, under extenuating circumstances, the request may not be completely out of the question.
Currently, those extenuating circumstances involve a shot at a national High School Football Rudy Award for Camden County Wildcat football player Dakota Dir. He is Georgia’s lone semi-finalist.
Most folks, even those who aren’t interested in football, have seen or heard of the movie “Rudy,” which is based on Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a walk-on player at Notre Dame in the 1970s. He poured his heart and soul into every practice and worked hard to earn a spot on the roster. Ruettiger fulfilled his dream of running through the team tunnel and playing on the field for 27 seconds. Those 27 seconds inspired an entire generation of football hopefuls.
The Rudy Award honors high school football players who personify the definition of what is referred to as the four C’s of Rudy: Character, Courage, Commitment and Contribution.
Dir’s mother, Cindy Dir, said her 17-year-old son started playing football at age 5 and joined the Wildcat team as a freshman at Camden County High. He is now a junior. Cindy Dir said Wildcat coach Jeff Herron approached her and Dir’s dad Steve, a math teacher at the school, and asked to nominate their son for the award.
“Because it’s his business,” Cindy Dir said. “And his life. Because he works very hard not to stand out.”
But Dir does stand out. Dir was born with mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that affects the energy production of his cells, draining his energy level, making mobility somewhat difficult at times and causing him frequent pain and discomfort. When he was 22 months old, Dir had a metabolic stroke, known as a brown out, that left him with severe hearing loss.
There is no cure for the condition and the student athlete must monitor his diet, exercise, how often he eats and how hard he can push himself physically.
Dir said he is driven by a passion for the game and a desire to someday become a teacher, like his dad, and a football coach. Herron told reporters from the Florida Times Union, “He is absolutely a vital part of the team. He’s just always positive, upbeat and encouraging. He does everything right.”
Teammates describe him is dedicated, the hardest worker on the team and inspirational.
Dir stood out, but not because of his disease. He stood out because he found a way to live beyond the limitations his disease tried to impose on him and he’s persevered.
It feels amazing,” Dir’s mom said. “It’s overwhelming to have your child up for something.”
Cast your vote for Dir at:
Supporters can vote daily until Jan. 31.
The winner of the award and a $10,000 scholarship will be announced Feb. 3. Two semi-finalists will also receive $5,000.00

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