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Nice article about The Coach Son


Nice article about The Coach Son

What else can you say about a Father and Mother like these two. What an honor to have him as the coach of the FAU football team. For a Player to be able to say that "He was my coach in college" is pretty impressive in itself. A lot of people don't get to see or hear what he does outside of football.

Schnellenberger honors son through tournament
By Marcus Nelson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, May 05, 2006

BOCA RATON ? Among the game balls, plaques honoring bowl teams and photos of former pro and college players in Howard Schnellenberger's office, a handwritten note hanging on the wall means just as much to the Florida Atlantic football coach as the other mementos.

It reads "Happy Birthday, Dad," but the writing, scribbled on a piece of paper, looks like it wasn't easy to compose.

The note from a son to his father isn't from someone just learning to write. It's from Stephen Schnellenberger, 46, who still struggles to form words, on paper or in speech.

That's why the homemade birthday card means so much to Howard.

"I'm sure the nurse helped him quite a bit," Schnellenberger said.

Stephen, who requires constant care, is recovering from brain damage suffered after lapsing into a coma during surgery in 2003.

"He has his good days and bad days," said his mother and Howard's wife, Beverlee. "He does things some football players squirm and complain about, but Stephen just never gives up."

Once athletic enough to run for Pace High School's cross-country team and play golf at the University of Florida, he was diagnosed with a rare form of endocrine cancer when he was 19. Since then, his condition has deteriorated, needing several operations to remove organs. The surgery in 2003 to remove a tumor appeared to go like the others, until Stephen went into a coma for months.

While at Jackson Memorial in Miami, Howard visited often and Beverlee made the 120-mile round trip daily from their Ocean Ridge home.

"That was very trying," Beverlee said. "We're happy that he's right here."

In June, Stephen was able to move out of the hospital and move in to his parents' condo, where he has his own room.

Beverlee said Stephen will soon be moved to a house in Boynton Beach fitted for his needs.

Stephen's plight led Howard to get involved in Stand Among Friends, a charity organization dedicated to providing guidance to families of those affected by neurological disabilities.

"We're doing this because not everyone has the resources to deal with these difficult tasks," said Stand Among Friends President Shawn Friedkin, who founded the organization in 1997 after being paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1992.

This is Howard Schnellenberger's second year with the organization, which moved to FAU's Lynn School of Nursing in December.

He has been involved in raising money for cancer research and Easter Seals at Louisville and Miami, but has personal interest in Stand Among Friends,

"I really thought this was something I could help with in Stephen's name," Howard said. "It's very personal and it's been helpful to get to know other people who have these problems."

Stephen may even be well enough to join Howard in attending this year's golf event, Beverlee said.

"We have great aspirations for him to get better and better every day," Beverlee said. "We call him our hero and he's a fighter. He just doesn't give up."

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