A high school senior in Dallas is playing double-duty on the football field, splitting his time between the defensive line and the sideline.
Armand Fernandez-Pierre, 17, doubles as a defensive lineman and a cheerleader for the Episcopal School of Dallas.
Fernandez-Pierre says he is equally passionate about both sports.
“[Cheer] is about encouraging each other and moving forward as a group and a team,” the student told Fox affiliate KDFW. “When it comes to football I love being able to be, I guess — how could you say it — brutal.”
The student began his athletic career as a football player. However, after suffering from a neck injury in eighth grade, he was forced to take a break from the contact sport.
‘[I’d] severed my spinal cord,” he told ABC News. “I was paralyzed on the right-hand side.”
After making a recovery, Fernandez-Pierre decided to try cheerleading.
His strength proved to be an asset for the high school cheerleading squad, ABC News reports. At 335 pounds, Fernandez-Pierre could easily lift and hurl fellow cheerleaders into the air.
After watching Fernandez-Pierre on the field, Episcopal School of Dallas football coach Clayton Sanders approached the student about joining the football team. Because of his prior injuries, Fernandez-Pierre was hesitant at first.
He eventually agreed, but only under the condition that he could join his cheerleading team at halftime.
Eric Daboa, Episcopal School of Dallas cheer coach, says he was reluctant to give up his star athlete.
“We fought tooth and nail to keep him just on our team and our sideline,” said Daboa. “But we realized what a good athlete he is and understand the opportunities that he would have with football.”
The high school senior now spends game time as a football player, and halftime as a cheerleader.
“The deal was that he and my cheer coach would have to figure a way that I could play both sports in the same season,” said the student.
According to ABC News, Fernandez-Pierre is America’s only football player and cheerleader.