Who Says I Can't: The Astonishing Story of a Fearless Life
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About the Author
Coach Rob Mendez sounds like any other football coach on any other field across America: passionate, authoritative, knowledgeable. But he is like no other coach you know.
Rob was born with an extraordinarily rare condition called tetra-amelia syndrome. He has no arms or legs. He moves with the assistance of a custom-made, motorized wheelchair that he operates with his back and shoulders, and diagrams football plays on a smartphone, using a stylus that he maneuvers at lightning speed with his mouth. A lifelong sports fan, Rob grew up watching San Francisco 49ers games with his family, and later learned the intricacies of the game by playing endless hours of Madden football video games. And that is just one aspect of his incredible story.
Rob was the manager of his high school football team in Gilroy, California, and became an assistant coach shortly after graduating. He was a fixture on the Bay Area high school football coaching scene for more than a dozen years before moving to Southern California. He is currently the head junior varsity coach at a high school near San Diego.
A busy and accomplished motivational speaker, as well as a successful coach, Rob has been the subject of dozens of profiles in national media, as well as the ESPN documentary short feature, Who Says I Can't? The film was nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award and was entered in the Tribeca Film Festival.
In the summer of 2019 Rob was named the winner of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards. After more than thirty years, he continues to beat the odds and serve as an inspiration for people worldwide who are facing adversity.