It’s official: Putnam Valley High School junior Eduardo Recinos has the heart of a Giant.
Recinos, accompanied by his team and family, was surprised with the grand prize trophy in the 2023 USA Football Heart of a Giant Award program by New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, alongside Dr. Samuel Taylor, sports medicine surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery and associate team physician for the NY Giants, during a Dec. 6 ceremony in the Giants’ team locker room at MetLife Stadium.
Recinos was also awarded a $1,000 equipment grant for the PVHS football program for being a finalist, and another $9,000 equipment grant for being named the winner – totaling $10,000 for the school’s program.
“Working with USA Football, HSS and the Giants to honor the most inspiring local high school students with a unique love for the game of football is very meaningful to me,” said Jones. “I am thrilled to join Eduardo’s teammates and coaches today to celebrate his accomplishment of winning this year’s award for demonstrating what it means to have the heart of a Giant, and I wish him all the success in the future.”
Recinos is team manager for PVHS’s football team, where he provides support to players and coaches on and off the field, bringing positivity to the team each practice and game. He was diagnosed with Spastic Cerebral Palsy at birth, and was unable to walk on his own as he got older, among other various day-to-day challenges he had to persevere through as he grew up.
Following numerous surgeries and rehabilitations, Recinos was able to walk with the assistance of a walker. However, he never let his diagnosis hold him back, and he continued to push himself to one day be able to walk on his own with no assistance. Now, Recinos can be seen in the halls of his high school and on the sidelines with his team walking on his own, after taking on each daily challenge with joyful determination.
“I have had the honor of being a part of this 10-year program recognizing local tri-state student athletes who demonstrate what it takes to have a heart of a Giant,” said Taylor. “Through this initiative, we have acknowledged incredible students within our local communities, and I am delighted to celebrate today with Eduardo.”
Recinos has always had a passion for sports, and prior to joining the football team as team manager, he could be seen carrying a football around school every day. Showing off the courage he had built throughout his life, Recinos approached PVHS football coach Ryan Elsasser this past season after wanting to find a way to be a part of the team for years.
He initially asked if he could play and practice with the team, but both sides decided on Recinos being the team manager, which greatly excited Recinos – and the players.
This season, Recinos committed himself to the team and attended every practice and game, as well as providing motivational support for the team through engaging with and pushing the players to achieve their goals. Through this opportunity with the football team, Recinos has established newfound self-confidence, and he has built an incredible bond with the school – including fellow classmates, teammates, teachers and staff – through his uncanny ability to bring people together through an inspiring and upbeat personality.
Due to his diagnosis, he spends his school day offsite in BOCES programs designed to build his vocational skills and independence. However, his role as team manager has allowed him to expand his social circle, and touch many lives with his incredible story of defiance and perseverance.
“USA Football is honored to reward Eduardo Recinos with this year’s Heart of a Giant award,” said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck. “The Giants and HSS have been exceptional partners during the past decade. We look forward to continuing to collectively celebrate students and athletes who display the same unmatched perseverance and love for the game as Eduardo.”
USA Football’s Heart of a Giant Award, presented by Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. In that time, the program has expanded to highlight not only high school tackle football players, but all tri-state flag football athletes, student managers, student mascots or other designated student team members who demonstrate a relentless work ethic and unmatched love for the game.
For six weeks, coaches submitted a group of weekly nominees for their commitment, teamwork, will, character and dedication. At the end of the voting process, there were six finalists and five honorable mention nominees named, for a total of 11 finalist honorees for this year’s 2023 Heart of a Giant Team.
Each finalist then submitted a video, which featured their coaches, family and teammates stating why that finalist has the heart of a Giant.