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DelGatto - Eastchester Football's Heartbeat

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Just one year ago, Rick DelGatto was a strapping two-way lineman anticipating his junior football season at Eastchester High School when he was diagnosed with an enlarged aorta and told by doctors that his playing career was over.

“I was distraught and probably comatose for a good two months when they told me about my heart,” said DelGatto, now a senior who is at every practice motivating his teammates. “If I didn’t have my football team I don’t know what I would have done. I had 20 kids come to my house that night – within five minutes.”

DelGatto’s heart ailment may have ended his presence on the field as a player, but it has not stifled his love for the game, for his teammates and for being part of what he says will be a “memorable season.”

Any “stretching” of the aorta could cause a rupture, so DelGatto is out to keep his teammates hearts beating for him.

“I feel this will be the best year for Eastchester ever,” DelGatto said. I’m here to help keep the guys up – always moving forward. I tell them every time you hit a wall – put yourself in my shoes,” he said. “I’ll be here all the way. We want to write a Hollywood story.”

The Eagles Head Coach Fred DiCarlo said having DelGatto around is inspiring.

“The players have to be up when Rick is around,” DiCarlo said. “He is a senior leader, that’s it.”

Just like any senior captain, DelGatto takes his responsibility seriously. He hopes someday that his time working the sidelines will help lead him into coaching.

“I could see myself as a coach,” he said. “But right now I’m here to help anyway I can. It’s going to be a great season.”

Are you an Eastchester Eagles fan? Do you know an athlete that inspires his teammates?

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