There’s something about those Friday night lights that makes people stand out. It’s no different for Brian Vallero.
“I started reffing when I was 18-years-old,” says now 22-year-old Vallero.
Every call he makes gets noticed, but there’s something about Brian that makes him stand out a little more than the rest. Brian has a condition that makes moving certain muscles difficult, Cerebral Palsy.
There’s never been a time he wasn’t battling his disease.
“I had a stroke before I was born in the second trimester that affected the right side of my body,” says Vallero.
There’s also never been a time he ever let CP define what he can do.
“There’s some things you’ll notice compared to the other refs that I do a little bit different,” says Vallero.
“It isn’t anything to worry about because he just does his job, and you just know he’s going to be there,” says the head of Brian’s ref crew Jason Danner.
Sometimes being in the spotlight adds pressure.
“More than anything, it’s a mind game. You have to be determined, and you have to say, you know what? Might look a little different out there, but I’m still doing it, and I’m not going to let this little thing stop me,” says Vallero.
Not only does Brian manage his condition, he’s beating it.
“The way the doctors explain it is just use your hand and leg as much as you possibly can,” says Vallero. “My hand used to always be closed at all times, and now I can grip things and do stuff like that.”
Even under the bright lights, it’s something you might not even notice.
“It just blows my mind, they go out there and do their job, and you can’t even tell they have it. It’s a good deal,” says football fan Dalton Brokaw.
It’s how Brian officiates his life. It’s how Brian strives to be better. That’s what makes him a standout who can teach us all a thing or two about the game we call life.
“Anything you do, it’s worth giving your all. If you’re going to go out there and do something, and you’re only going to do it halfway, what’s the real point in doing it?” says Vallero.
Brian is studying business management at Western Illinois University.
He is also working on getting his pilot license. After school, his goal is to become a pilot like his dad.