Although 41-year-old Robert Reidl’s time on the stage may be brief, he’s hoping to leave a lasting impression about overcoming limits and labels as a person born with cerebral palsy.
“I have over 100, these are just what I got out my trophy case,” he said.
The former athlete and now youth coach was tapped by the NFL through Special Olympics Ohio to announce a draft pick Saturday.
“I’m going to be announcing the Minnesota Vikings fourth-round pick,” he said. “The 134th overall which is very exciting and to have that opportunity is once in a lifetime.”
He hopes to make an impression during his time in the spotlight. Reidl said he knows what it’s like to be bullied and underestimated. As a champion athlete he also knows what it takes to overcome obstacles like the players in the draft.
“I want athletes, Special Olympic athletes to know that they can achieve anything,” he said. “When I was born, the doctor told my mom and dad that I would not be able to walk or talk and boy did they get that assessment wrong.”
Not only does he walk and talk, Reidl works, drives and is a father to a teenage daughter. While his time on stage may just be few moments, he says they will be powerful.
“Special Olympics means everything to me, if I wouldn’t have had Special Olympics I don’t know where I would be,” he said trying to hold back tears.
A moment in the limelight Reidl said he can only hope will influence others to work towards overcoming challenges.
“I hope they know that I am not just someone with disabilities, that I’m also a coach, I’m also an athlete,” he said. “I’m a regular person not anything special, regular person, trying to make a difference.”