Eastern Michigan Lineman Brian Dooley's Selfless Act Earns Him Disney Spirit Award

Beyond the field, Dooley has dedicated over 100 hours to community service, including reading to young students, building and refurbishing parks, and participating in EMU's "Victory Day," an event supporting individuals with cognitive and physical impairments.

Walt Disney World Spirit Award
Dooley's financial burdens were further exacerbated by his mother's ongoing battle with polycystic kidney disease, requiring a kidney transplant. Image: Collected

In the world of college football, camaraderie and teamwork are essential qualities. However, one Eastern Michigan offensive lineman, Brian Dooley, has taken these principles to an extraordinary level, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to his teammates and earning him the prestigious 2023 Disney Spirit Award.

Earlier this season, Dooley captured national attention when he generously donated his entire football scholarship to teammate Zack Conti. Conti, a walk-on player, had been struggling to make ends meet, working multiple jobs and even donating blood plasma to pay for college expenses. 

Touched by Conti's struggles, Dooley decided to make a life-changing decision. "I just knew I had to do something," Dooley explained. "Zack is one of my closest friends, and I couldn't bear to see him struggling like that."

Dooley's act of selflessness resonated with many, including Adam Ball, vice president of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. "At Walt Disney World, we're deeply inspired by the incredible stories that emerge from college football every year," Ball stated. "And we're also constantly seeking individuals like Brian Dooley, who embody the indomitable spirit that lies at the heart of the Disney Spirit Award."

Since its inception in 1996, the Disney Spirit Award has annually recognized the most inspirational figures in college football. It honors individuals like Dooley who demonstrate remarkable resilience and a genuine desire to help others.

Dooley, a graduate student majoring in criminal justice, has consistently sought ways to uplift those around him. As a team captain, he has graciously allowed his teammates to take his place during the pre-game coin toss, granting them the opportunity to represent the team.

Dooley's unwavering spirit and commitment to others have earned him the 28th Disney Spirit Award, becoming the first recipient from Eastern Michigan University. He will be formally presented with the award during the "Home Depot College Football Awards" on ESPN on December 8th.

Dooley's story serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact of selflessness and compassion. His actions have not only alleviated Conti's financial burdens but have also inspired countless others to extend a helping hand to those in need. Dooley's legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire others to make a positive difference in the world.

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