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East Rutherford football player's responsibilities extend beyond field

There's more to Joey Detetta than his athletic ability. He also knows how to handle adversity, and it's because he has a special person who relies on his help. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Joey D is an all-around athlete. Friday night, he said he was going to have an interception, and the East Rutherford football player did just that in the first quarter of the game.

But there's more to Joey Detetta than his athletic ability. He also knows how to handle adversity, and it's because he has a special person who relies on his help.

As a student athlete, Detetta has mounting responsibilities at home and school.

"Football isn't an escape, it's a lifestyle and a family," he insists.

"If anybody has ever been team before self, I think it would be Joey," his mom Jeanette Detetta said.

Detetta works hard at school, on the field and at home.

"As age started to hit her, and me as well, and I get older, I started to realize Momma can't do everything. So, I helped her the best I could," the honor student said.

Detetta has not missed practice, or more importantly, a day at school this year.

"He comes to practice every day, and he works as hard as he can," coach Clint Bland said. "He sacrifices for his team, and he's worked his way into the starting role on defense and offense."

Detetta is a role model to others, and his teammates say you'll never hear him complain.

"To know that not only the ten people on the field have your back, but everyone else on the sideline, it's a big family," he said.

When Detetta heads home after practice, his responsibilities are just beginning. At home, he helps take care of his sister Sammy, who has cerebral palsy.

"Me and her, we have like a forced bond. I have to help her, but I don't mind helping her because she's my sister and I love her," he said.

"I honestly and truly don't know if I would be able to do it on a daily basis without him. He is a godsend," his mother said. "He takes care of her in the moments that I can't, and, for that, I'm eternally grateful."

Detetta helps lift his sister, makes her dinner, and is there for any emotional support she needs..

Their bond is special.

"It's a reward each day. I get gains from it as well as she does. We get laughs and giggles out of it, too, so it's amazing," he said.

Detetta said it can be tiring at times.

"It's more of lack of relaxation, but I don't really mind, because it helps her out."

He said it's part of being a big brother.

"It's a bond that can't be broken. If she's having a bad day, she can always tell me, and I'll be the big brother for her," Detetta said.

Detetta said he is working hard in school so he can be the first person in his family to go to college.

He's made everyone at East Rutherford proud of him, and his mom is proud, too.

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