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Rob  Mendez

Rob Mendez

ESPYS Jimmy V Perseverance Award Winner, Coach & Motivator

Rob Mendez

ESPYS Jimmy V Perseverance Award Winner, Coach & Motivator


Rob Mendez grew up a passionate sports fan; his first word as an infant was “ball.” However, Rob was born with no arms or legs—the result of an extraordinarily rare condition called tetra-amelia syndrome, with very few known cases globally. While Rob couldn’t physically play sports, he didn’t let that stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a successful high school football coach, author, and speaker who now spends time inspiring students and professional athletes from the NFL and MLB.

Rob moves in a custom-made wheelchair that he operates with his shoulders. A fixture on the Bay Area high school football coaching scene for more than a dozen years, he diagrams plays on a smartphone attached to the chair, using a stylus that he maneuvers with his mouth.

Rob has been the subject of dozens of profiles in national media, including the ESPN documentary short feature, Who Says I Can’t? The film was nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award and was entered in the Tribeca Film Festival. Rob has made appearances on Rachel Ray, the NFL Network, ESPN and more. He appeared in Google’s “Year in Search Video” which was viewed over 150,000,000 times.

In September 2021, Rob released his memoir, Who Says I Can’t? - The Astonishing Story of a Fearless Life. Told with both humor and frankness, Who Says I Can’t? takes readers on Rob’s inspirational journey, from being raised by loving parents who wanted to afford him every chance for happiness to the emotional and physical hurdles he faced while seeking independence. Discussing how he landed his first coaching job, became the subject of an Emmy Award–nominated ESPN documentary, and received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards, Rob takes audiences along on his remarkable story of overcoming adversity to achieve his dreams.

Speaker Videos

Who Says I Can’t Trailer

SC Featured Short

Speech Topics

Who Says I Can’t ? The Astonishing Story of a Fearless Life

Overcoming Obstacles