NEW ORLEANS (CBS 5) -- The San Francisco 49ers have a chance to win their sixth Super Bowl on Sunday. At the center of attention, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a dazzling athlete who has achieved remarkable success against all odds.
With a cannon for an arm and the legs of a gazelle, the 25-year-old Kaepernick is simply phenomenal.
"I’ve never seen that kid break a sweat, have you?" said teammate offensive tackle Alex Boone.
Competitive, confident, and highly focused, Kaepernick was all business in front of the media in New Orleans.
"Right now, we're playing for this week," he stated with unique calm to the bank of reporters and photographers who had gathered from around the world.
From second year backup to the starter at the Super Bowl, Kaepernick's rise is nothing short of amazing.
The three words tattooed across his chest say it all: “Against all Odds.”
Kaepernick was born in Wisconsin to an unmarried teenager who put him up for adoption.
Teresa and Rick Kaepernick of rural Wisconsin had lost two sons shortly after birth to congenital heart defects.
When they heard that a tiny baby boy was available for adoption, they were, as Teresa put it, extremely excited, very happy, and anxious to see him.
“I’m kind of a firm believer that things happen for a reason,” said Rick Kaepernick, the young quarterback’s adoptive father.
As a child, Colin suffered from chronic upper respiratory problems. At one point, his parents were so concerned, that they had him tested for cystic fibrosis. He tested negative.
By age 4, the Kaepernick family had moved to Turlock in California's Central Valley.
“Turlock is a very racially diverse community. We have been fortunate enough that we've never encountered anybody criticizing him or us,” said Teresa.
At Pittman High, Kaepernick rose to the occasion. He excelled in both sports and academics. The young student was described as a brainiac. He took honors classes and Advanced Placement. He played three sports – baseball, basketball and football – exceptionally well.
Football was his first love, but at 6 feet 4 inches, he weighed just 170 pounds.
"Very tall, very, very skinny, very lean. I was hoping he wouldn't break,” said one high school acquaintance.
It’s hard to believe it now, but only one major college - Nevada - offered Kaepernick a football scholarship.
Once again, he rose to the occasion and under coach Chris Ault, the young man perfected what is now known as the pistol offense.
“Of course if you've got a guy like Kaep, who can run like a gazelle, you got to be more than concerned with it you got to put 1 ½ people on him,” Ault said.
Now Colin Kaepernick is a star, but not just on football field. The quarterback donates his time at Camp Taylor, a summer camp for children with congenital heart problems.
“He said he wanted to do something that will help kids with heart defects. I think Rick and I were both extremely moved,” explained Teresa.
“I think one of the coolest things I saw was him spend hours in a swimming pool with the kids. Not one kid asked about a tattoo, Colin didn't ask about their scars they were just kids. One was a really big kid,” said Rick.
A big kid who has once again rose to the occasion.
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