Behind the Facemask: George DeGiovanni, Second Chance at Greatness

George DeGiovanni found football later than most people but it changed his life. George grew up your typical Jersey Boy, but in 2003, he was 27 and was determined to overcome the obstacles life had put in his way, including a near-death experience in 2002.

George battles with Crohn’s Disease and in a 2 week time frame, he lost nearly 70 pounds which was life threatening. When he got the point that he could play sports, he researched and found a team in Westchester County and tried out. George, “never looked back”.

It was hard for George to learn the game at 27 due to most of his fellow players have played for years before hand. Crohn’s Disease was even tougher. He had to push himself to prove that even thought he might be sick, he can still play. This required him to focus on keeping hydrated and tracking his eating habits. It has turned in to a delicate balance of the right amount of carbs and protein but allowing enough time to pass so he could play nearer an empty stomach. When you have Crohn’s the flare ups can be debilitating because you don’t have control of your bowels.

George has now played 10 years of football. He started with Westchester and then moved on to play with Jersey Cynder, NJ Longhorns, Hudson Valley Cowboys, Jersey Black Devils, and is contemplating where to play next season.

westchester-packers-2003

George started out playing offensive tackle and tight end but now plays several positions including fullback, defensive line, and linebacker. George is a believer in that you play how you practice. “I like hitting during practice and you should always scrimmage and be in full pads.” Football has taught George to love contact. He has learned that “you get hit, you get back up, and you keep moving.”

westchester-packers-3

He prepares for games by eating early and not later than 3 hours before a game. George balances his carbs and protein intake. He brings a gatorade/water mix in a 1 gallon jug. Although the first time he did this he used the Glacier Freeze flavor and it looked like anti-freeze. He took some flack from his teammates.

In hishi-tor-bun free time, George has a passion for animals and works with Hi Tor Animal Care Center in NY. Sometimes he even works a storm spotter because chasing football players is not always enough!

George wants people to know “don’t be scared of what people may think or do because of your choices.” He has learned the hard way the importance of believing in yourself and enjoying them moment.

 

George’s favorite player is Drew Brees because he has been told he resembles him. We will let you be the judge!

You can follow George here:

Facebook: George DeGiovanni

George also is co-founder to the Facebook page: Addicted to Playing Football

 

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