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49ers 'Blind Side' mom: Super-bummed & blessed

NEED TO KNOW
  • Stephanie Britt is the adoptive mother of 49ers' defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs
  • She is a cheerleading coach in Savannah, Georgia
  • She reflects on the comparisons of her family to the one featured in 'The Blind Side'
49ers 'Blind Side' mom: Super-bummed & blessed
Britts Dobbs

Editor's note: Stephanie Britt is the adoptive mother of Demarcus Dobbs, a tight end and defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers. She and her husband, Danny, are lifelong athletes: She runs a cheerleading gym and he is a high school football coach. Their story is very similar to the one featured in "The Blind Side." 

To read the Ravens "Blind Side" mom's story, click here.

HLN: What did you think of the Super Bowl XLVII?
Stephanie Britt: It was a great game! The Ravens jumped up on us so quickly that I got a little depressed at the beginning, but then in the second half, things started going our way. We had the crowd cheering and we really thought we were going to pull it out at the end. But we came up short. It was a great game though — we had a blast!

HLN: How do you feel about the loss?  
SB: I’m super-bummed for Demarcus. When you’re a lifelong athlete or coach, you learn to take losses way better than people who are not. We realize what a special opportunity it is to play in the Super Bowl and that there’s a chance we’ll never have it again. But as much as we’re appreciative of it, we can’t help but think, “He was so close!” The 49ers had a big post-game party, but Demarcus didn’t go. He was bummed and stayed in his room. It’s hard to know how sad he and his team must be.

HLN: Despite the loss, how proud are you of your son and all of his accomplishments?
SB: Very. Before the game even started, I text him and said I’m so proud that you’ve put yourself in this position and made choices in your life that have allowed you to be here. He’s played in 14 games this season and even though he’s injured now, I’m still proud to see him dressed up on the sidelines with his teammates, giving them pointers, trying to get the fans pumped up.

HLN: Are you recognized as “The Blind Side Mom” in your community?
SB: People who don’t know us very well do compare us to “The Blind Side,” saying things like “You’re the real ‘Blind Side’ story.” But we know, and the 'Niners know, and people close to us know that where we’re from, it’s just not that uncommon. In the South, there are many families who are at a socioeconomic disadvantage and suffer from generational poverty whose children are victims of abuse or neglect. These young kids may be the best athletes, but they don’t have a mom or dad to take them to practice. It happens more often than you think: Coaches, teachers, or parents taking in disadvantaged athletes. There’s no telling how many other families have a similar story to ours. To other people, this may seem uncommon, but to us, it’s just normal life.

HLN: What about player safety: Demarcus knocks heads with big guys dozens of times a game. Do you worry about his life after football?
SB: No, we don’t have any place in our minds or hearts or family for that kind of thinking. You take risks every day and the rewards outweigh the risks. I don’t worry about Demarcus — he’s a big dude with good coaching and education. He’s probably safer on the field than I am driving a car every day. I’ve made a very conscious decision that he won’t be in the sport very long because your body simply can’t handle it. We knew there was a likelihood of him getting hurt and now he has a knee injury. But he wouldn’t trade in not playing in the NFL for not having an injury.

HLN: What’s next for your family?
SB: We’re going to hop on a plane and go back to Savannah. I’ll go back to cheer practice and everyday life. We do family. We do kids. We do sports — it’s our life. My husband won Coach of the Year and his football team won Team of the Year. My team is going to World Cheerleading Championships in April. It’s amazing to have all your athlete kids accomplish so much all in the same year. I hope Demarcus gets his knee healthy and attends spring practice. But we just take it in strides. Take it one day at a time and make the most of whatever the day brings. Yesterday was a big day — today can be, too. 

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