Dr. Arnold Scheller, the recipient of the NFF Emo DiNitto/Rhode Island Chapter Distinguished American Award, delivered the following acceptance speech May 1, 2017 at the chapter’s annual scholar-athlete banquet. A former college football player at Boston University, Scheller served as a U.S. Army Ranger Medical Officer, and he received a Bronze Star for his valor in combat. When he was not serving his country, Scheller established himself as one of Boston’s most prominent orthopedic surgeons, including serving as the Boston Celtics team doctor and a team physician for the U.S. training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo.


I would like to first thank the Foundation, Emo Dinitto, Tom Shola and Dr. Bill Garrahan, my mentors in high school for this distinguished award. It is a true honor!

I would also like to thank my family and friends who have always been there to support me. Sonia, my wife of 42 years, has always been there for me in all my endeavors and I am forever thankful.

These fine young scholar-athletes are at the beginning of their journeys, and I'm at the end of mine. I will direct my comments to them as they are honored with me.

First, "Do something every day that scares you." If you don't, you'll never expand your horizons. Don't be afraid to try new things out, always grow physically mentally and emotionally.

Fear is a major impediment to success. There are three types of fear that will stop you. Know and understand them, and you will be able to overcome them.

These fears are:

·         Fear of Failure

·         Fear of Embarrassment

·         Fear of Hardship

Don't let these traditional fears limit your successes.

Working with the Boston Celtics and Larry Bird in particular demonstrated this lesson. After I operated on both of Larry's heels, he recovered and was ready to return to play in the NBA playoffs. I asked him if he was ready as Ed Lacerte was tapping him before the game. He said, "I just don't want to embarrass myself on the court." I said, "Then don't." As he walked from the medical room I watched one of the most confident athletes I have cared for overcome his fears! This is what you will have to do.

Believe me! You will face failure in life. My training and deployments with the 75th Ranger regiment in JSOC taught me this lesson. You are pushed to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, and then they see what you’re about. They want to see how you push on through failure when you’re absolutely smoked. It's what you have in your gut and heart that gives you the fortitude to push on. It's what you have in your head that allows you to successfully maneuver.  That's the people they want on their teams.

To be truly happy in life you need to find your passion. Take the time. Be honest with yourself and find it. Only when you combine hard work and your passion will you find true pleasure in success. Always stay independent of the good opinions of people, i.e., peer pressure and don't be a sheep. Find your own path and be creative!

Always look for something greater then yourself. Not focusing just on yourself and helping others brings great pleasure.

The team that brought me to this point in my life is my family and friends. I'd like to thank them one more time. Your family and friends are here to support and encourage you. Always thank them because it always takes a team to fully succeed.

Thank you!