Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz gives young boy a chance to meet his hero

There were tears Friday morning at the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp, but these were tears of joy.

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The team posted a video on Twitter of a boy — sporting a dyed-green mohawk and a Carson Wentz jersey — talking with his favorite sports star.

Giovanni Hamilton could not contain his emotions as Wentz approached him to autograph another No. 11 jersey he was holding. The Eagles quarterback took a few extra moments to chat with the star-struck fan, even giving him a hug and a fist-bump.

“You’re my hero!” Hamilton exclaimed.

According to ESPN, Hamilton is 11 years old and has endured 12 surgeries — including hip construction, eye surgery and jaw distraction — since he turned 2. He has a rare condition called Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, which his mother, Shannon, said is like a combination of muscular dystrophy and dwarfism.

In the midst of one of his recent surgeries, Giovanni told his mother, “I’m going to be strong like Carson. Look at how he’s doing with his knee. Look at how he’s doing with his back.”

When Wentz isn’t busy striking fear in the hearts of opposing defenses, he’s been known to brighten peoples’ days before. Last August, his AO1 Foundation began sending a food truck onto the Philadelphia streets to provide free meals to the city. The truck is named “Thy Kingdom Crumb” as a play on the words of the Lord’s Prayer.

Wentz and his AO1 Foundation also host a charity softball game every year to raise money for various philanthropic efforts, including a new sports complex for a Haitian community.

He’s spoken at prayer breakfasts and churches, and even led a baptism at a team hotel.

Wentz is involved in a lot, but through understanding what Christ did for him, he can’t help but give back with his time and energy. In fact, the title of his foundation — AO1 — means “Audience of One.” All that Wentz does, on the field and off, he does for the glory of God.

“Jesus died on that cross so that we can have eternal life with Him,” Wentz once said as a guest speaker at a church in his home state of North Dakota. “We need to be intentional about our conversations. At the end of the day, I need to think, ‘What have I done for the Kingdom today? Who have I impacted? Who have I talked to?'”

Wentz received a lucrative new contract extension this offseason, entering his fourth as a professional. He hopes that means a return to the MVP-caliber form he was at before an ACL injury in 2017 and a back injury in 2018 ended his seasons. Now that backup-turned-Super-Bowl-MVP Nick Foles is in Jacksonville, the Eagles are unquestionably Wentz’s team.

But, based on Friday, any new pressure Wentz is feeling as a football player hasn’t changed his heart for others off the field. Like he said himself, he was intentional about a conversation, and one young Philly fan will never forget the impact he made.

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