Alan Faneca had his first seizure as a 15 year old on Christmas Eve 1991, leading to a diagnosis of epilepsy. It didn’t deter him from playing 13 NFL seasons, earning nine Pro Bowls and six All-Pro honors and finally, after six times as a Hall of Fame finalist, earning a bust in Canton.
The former offensive guard was among five Steelers inducted this weekend, with Donnie Shell, Troy Polamalu and Bill Cowher going in with the Centennial Class of 2020 on Saturday. The late scout Bill Nunn Jr. earned induction with Faneca on Sunday night.
Faneca spoke of the obstacles he overcame to arrive in Canton and encouraged others to follow their dreams.
“Fifteen was a transformative year for me,” Faneca said. “My dream of playing in the NFL was awakened, and that was when I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I vividly knew that I was not going to let anything prevent me from fulfilling this dream. I knew as long as I listened to my doctors and followed their guidance, along with a strong support system, I would be fine. I always told myself, and have spoken about the fact that epilepsy is part of me, but it does not define me. We are in charge of our destiny. I never want any challenges to define us. We must define ourselves. Whatever one’s challenge in life, whether we have a disability or not, my message is always to maintain an integral commitment to not let anything stop us from fulfilling our vision. We all get knocked down in life, but it’s how we get up that matters.”