Name: McCormick, Britt. Grade: 10. Height: 5’9.” Weight: 130 lbs. Position: wide receiver/linebacker. Jersey number: 28.
A player on the JV football team, sophomore Britt McCormick also has cerebral palsy, making him sometimes unable to control his muscles or movements. Cerebral palsy can cause “impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteadiness of walking, or some combination of these,” according to mayoclinic.com.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a disability,” Britt said. “I would say it makes things harder for me. I can’t not do things, it just takes me a little longer than others.”
Father Tim McCormick said Britt’s case resulted from birth trauma, but is relatively mild compared to other children with cerebral palsy. However, Britt has had to spend a lot of time in speech, physical, and occupational therapy.
“He really did the work,” Tim said. “We stayed on top of it.”
Tim said currently, the main challenges of raising Britt have been exactly the same as raising his other brothers.
“Raising a boy is raising a boy,” Tim said. “They goof off, you have to keep on them about homework, they talk back at times, etc.”
Tim said for most of Britt’s childhood, he was in physical and occupational therapy twice a week for almost two hours each. He also had occupational and speech therapy at school.
“In many ways we were unwittingly preparing to be an athlete’s parents with all the driving around, organizing and planning, scheduling and coordinating,” Tim said. “It’s just that we were doing it with therapists instead of coaches, until this year anyway.”
Tim said he figured Britt was just hanging out with two of his best friends when he said he was going to the weight room with the football team last year.
“Since both his physical and occupational therapists have been focusing on core strength to better anchor his hands and arms for better control, it sounded like an ideal after-school hang out,” Tim said. “Then the next thing I hear from him [is that] he is going out for the team. It was all his doing. He took all the initiative.”
Britt said he joined the team this year because he grew up liking football and would often throw a football around with his grandpa when he was younger. He plays wide receiver and inside linebacker for the JV team.
“Since new coaches started coaching the team, I thought that would be a good way to have a fresh start, like an equal level for everyone,” Britt said. “
Head football coach Scott Coats said as a person, Britt is soft-spoken and polite, and as a player, never gives up.
“He wants to be treated like everyone else and he’ll do all the drills,” Coats said. “He will never quit.”
Britt said he enjoys playing football because he does not have to worry about school or anything else, he can just focus on the game.
“It’s made me stronger,” Britt said. “I’ve always felt like I could play football like any other person, unlike other sports – baseball or something, where you have to use your hands a lot more.”
Britt said his teammates and coaches treat him like any other player on the team.
“I have to do as much as other players, and I have to do it as well, like give my 100% at everything,” Britt said. “I feel like there’s no difference between me and [my teammates]. We’re all the same.”
Coats said having Britt on the team shows his strength and willpower and is very inspirational to his teammates.
“I think it’s a constant reminder that when times are tough, there are people who have it tougher,” Coats said. “I think it’s something that the rest of the guys can look to for strength.”
Coats said Britt’s teammates treat him like anyone else on the team.
“The only exception is that people are quick to cheer him on to finish drills, but other than that, he’s just like any other kid, ” Coats said.
Teammate sophomore Philip Kim said Britt has a fun personality both on and off the field, and that he never complains about anything.
“He is a great teammate who you can depend on and always has a great big smile on his face,” Kim said.
Teammate sophomore Drew Collins said Britt has an excellent work ethic and that everyone on the team sees him as just a player.
“He isn’t anything but a player,” Collins said. “No one sees him differently from everyone else on the team. He’s only there to work and have fun.”
Britt said although he faced challenges growing up, he does not feel hindered because he has cerebral palsy.
“I think it’s definitely kept me back from doing things earlier [in my life],” Britt said. “But now I feel like I can do anything.”