The Rare Disease Champion Award
is given annually to a leader in college football who has realized his or her potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community.
College: University of Southern California (USC)
Rare disease connection: Not long after reporting to USC for his freshman year as a highly touted linebacker out of Florida, Telfort was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy during a routine physical. This condition results in an enlarged heart and makes prolonged exertion potentially fatal.
In his own words: “I didn't even know at the time that my last high school football game was the last game I would ever play. I try to always tell my teammates to think about what they would do without football.”