Posted By: Michael Cecchin
To Miami Dolphins fans young and old, the legacy of Dan Marino is one that will never be forgotten. Fans are reminded of his years of excellence every time they visit Sun Life Stadium; whether it’s the life-sized bronze statue of the 9-time Pro Bowler or seeing his number 13 honored along side other Dolphins greats. His quick release and throwing power gave him star status, leading his Miami Dolphins to 10 playoff appearances, 1 Super Bowl birth and at one point owned almost every passing record in the NFL.
As one of the biggest names in American football history, Dan Marino has never refrained from using his popularity to the advantage of others. Shortly after their son Michael was diagnosed with autism, the Dan Marino Foundation was established by Dan and his wife Claire in 1992. Focusing on treatment programs, research and services, the Dan Marino Foundation has raised over $22 million towards ‘independence’ in the autism community. For a child with autism, the transition from childhood into adulthood can be very difficult and hard on their family; making it a goal for the Dan Marino Foundation to assist families through this period of time.
In 1998, the Dan Marino Center opened its doors along side the Miami Children’s Hospital. The center worked alongside the hospital specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of children at risk for developmental and psychological problems. The Center provides not only autistic children but children with any kind of neurodevelopment disease, the chance to participate in daytime activities and interaction with other children. In 2005, his work was recognized and acknowledged by the NBA’s Miami Heat. Marino was presented with a Heat jersey with his number 13 on the back, as well as a large donation to the Dan Marino Foundation.
During his 17-year career in a Dolphins uniform he was one of the most prolific quarterbacks the NFL had ever seen. His creativity with the ball gave his teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s chances to win which solidified his status as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Marino took a negative aspect of life that had affected his son and family and turned it into an opportunity to learn and teach. He is truly an icon on the field and a hero to the families and children that have been affected in a positive way through his foundation and medical center. Sure his numbers on the field are impressive, but check out his numbers off the field.
To learn more about the Dan Marino Foundation, visit http://www.danmarinofoundation.org/