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A heartwarming relationship between a coach and a student

By Eric Singer, Anchor/Reporter , e.singer@krdo.com
Published On: Feb 07 2014 07:20:48 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 07 2014 07:24:40 PM CST

Red Friday: Johnny Daniels and Coach Sam

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -

Inside the weight room at Sierra High School, there is a unique life lesson going on during a dead lift session.  17 year old Johnny Daniels is lifting 200 pounds and inspiring others.  It's not the weight on the bar that is so heavy, it's what Johnny has gone through to get to this point in his life. 

Johnny Daniels has Cerebral Palsy.  His health situation includes problems with balance and coordination.  Sierra Coach Mark Sampson has been training Johnny for the past year and a half, "The sky is the limit for Johnny.  I think his confidence is growing every day."  That confidence builder is Coach Sam as he is called at Sierra and Johnny's weight training. 

Johnny told me that he feels strong and good because of his training. Coach Sam has seen this transformation with Johnny, "He's more interactive with people. He'll come up and talk to others and be more confident." Johnny Daniels is a young man who won't let anything get in the way of a bright future.  This weight training is a sort of proving ground that nothing can stop him.  Johnny is also the Sierra Basketball Team Manager when he is not in the weight room.

Coach Sampson has worked in Harrison District Two for the past 13 years.  He has experience with disabled and paralympic athletes.  Mark Sampson is also U.S. Army proud, coming to the district through the Troops to Teachers program. 

Every Friday we wear red to honor the military and those who support them.  Coach Sampson is a good example of a veteran who is giving back to his community.  He shrugged it off when I called him a hero.  Instead,  he told me this is why he has to help others, "You've got to get to a point in your life where you can give back and I truly think that is our job."

You may know someone who is deserving of the honor of Wear Red Friday Hero.  Go back to our main page and click on the Red Friday section to nominate someone.  I look forward to reading your nomination and meeting the person you nominate for this honor.

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