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Original Issue

A Grasp On Success

Diabetic and born with one hand, a player excels and inspires

Albany senior Eddie Delaney, a bruising 6'6", 250-pound defensive end, has caught the eye of some NFL scouts despite facing challenges far greater than any offered by the offenses of the Northeast Conference. Delaney, 22, is a type 1 diabetic who was born without a left hand.

"What I'm doing isn't anything different from anyone else," he says. "I just play football." Delaney, a walk-on who redshirted in 2007, has blossomed into a scholarship player, a captain and the team's sack leader. He can bench-press more than 300 pounds while balancing the bar on a nub roughly two inches wide.

"He's an inspiration," says coach Bob Ford. "Just watch him tie his shoes."

Delaney, who grew up playing all sports in Holtsville, N.Y., has been diabetic since age six and has enough dexterity to test his blood sugar levels on a glucose meter that normally requires the use of two hands. "It's about adapting," he says.

In '09 Delaney met a young boy from the Albany area who was also born with one hand, and they became friends. "He comes to the games," says Delaney. "He looks up to me, and that feels good."

Even if Delaney never gets a shot at the next level, he's already on the highest pedestal.