WSVN — A local basketball coach is teaching kids more than the skills of the game. He’s teaching them an invaluable life lesson about never giving up despite any obstacle you may face. Here’s 7’s Lynn Martinez with today’s Parent to Parent.
Jeff Fogel: “Whatever, we work on at practice we take it out on the court tonight for one hour.”
Jeff Fogel is giving his team a pep talk before a big game.
Jeff Fogel: “We’re going to play with our heart and we’re going to play with our soul and we’re going to give it our all.”
Fogel knows a lot about facing challenges. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, three years ago. He’s confined to a wheelchair and admits at first, he couldn’t bear the thought of living with this disease.
Jeff Fogel: “From not breathing anymore, have to rely on a machine to help me breathe, swallowing and eating, it’s scary.”
Instead of giving up, Fogel made a decision to keep moving forward coaching kids basketball at the Michael-Ann Russell JCC In North Miami Beach.
Jeff Fogel: “I’m going to be like a tape player and keep going forward, because once you rewind, then it’s all over.”
Jeff is now not only teaching these kids the skills of the game but critical life-lessons. First, he says tell kids the truth. He tells them why he’s in a wheelchair.
Jeff Fogel: “They come up to me and don’t understand, I tell them. I let them know I have a disease called ALS and this is what it does.”
Fogel never misses a game even though getting out of bed is a daily struggle. So, he expects nothing less from his players. Pushing them to always give 100 percent.
Jeff Fogel: “Shoot the ball man! Why aren’t you shooting?”
Ten year old Lauryn Hornstein plays for his girls travel team. She says Coach Jeff is an inspiration to every player.
Lauryn Hornstein: “He’s a very good coach and he’s somebody we look up to as a role model and he’s very positive and keeps fighting.”
Jeff says no matter how tough his battle gets against ALS, he will never stop doing what he loves, coaching basketball and mentoring young people.
Jeff Fogel: “We don’t know how much time we have here on earth, so you have to enjoy everyday and every moment and that’s my motto.”
Lynn Martinez: Jeff’s story is so inspiring his best friend is making a film about his life called “Who is Lou Gehrig?” It’s expected to be released in December.
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