Werner was a senior starter for Breckenridge’s high school football team, also throwing discus and shot put for the track and field squad. He spent two years playing city league basketball as a highly intelligent player who specialized in ball screens and boxing out would-be rebounders. Werner recently bowled a 244 scratch game in league competition at Terrace Lanes. When it comes to athletics, Tanner doubles down on his strengths instead of dwelling on his inabilities.
“As a senior, I’m not sure we had a harder worker on the team. Tanner never made excuses and never felt sorry for himself with his limitations,” Breckenridge football coach Chad Fredericksen said.
The ultimate team player, Tanner only asked for one thing — a chance.
“Getting that equal opportunity to play the sport of football made me very appreciative of everyone who has supported my desire to play the sport I loved most,” Werner said.
Bringing Tanner into the fold with Breck Sports Talk as a videographer was a no-brainer because of his high character and personal generosity. Fredericksen noticed these qualities on and off the football field during Tanner’s playing time as well.
“Even before he started playing for us he helped out as a ball boy and manager. He was always willing to do whatever we asked to help out the team,” Fredericksen said. “Tanner continues to give back to the team and does a great job with video highlights. We are very lucky to have him so involved!”
Having to work hard for everything he’s earned in life, football was no exception for the gritty lineman. The gridiron trenches weren’t much different from Tanner’s daily life and he seemed to embrace those battles.
“As Tanner started to get older, he started to get larger. He worked hard in the weight room and eventually moved from backfield positions to line positions,” Fredericksen said. “He started on the defensive line for us and had a great senior year.”
Sports isn’t just a hobby for Werner, it’s a lifestyle. The 25 year old participates in a wide variety of athletics and outdoor activities.
“I love to hunt and fish,” Werner noted. “ I’m thankful for my stepdad, Jesse, who has helped me since day one to figure out ways I can achieve what it takes to do both, and actually being there with me all the way through to share those experiences.”
Tanner’s advice to others suffering from eye disease is not a script of sorrow, but an example of strength and humility in the face of life’s challenges.
“My advice to those with this disease is to first accept the disease, because that will make you more open to yourself and others,” Werner said. “It will give others a better understanding of what you’re going through every day by just talking about it and raising different questions. Others will help you figure out the way you need to go about problems in your life, so you don’t feel so alone going through a lifelong condition.”
Throughout Tanner’s yearly visits at the University of Minnesota, doctors have informed him that his disease has progressed but has been mostly stable for the last 10 years. Doctors have been following research studies and hope that one day stem cells may be a viable treatment or cure for Stargardt disease, an ailment that has had an impact on so many.
“I do hope a cure can happen in the near future, so I can get that opportunity to see what I’ve never been able to see before,” Werner said.
For now, Tanner will continue reaching thousands of viewers with his professional sports highlights. Although he sees differently than his counterparts on the playing field, Werner’s video vision is an inspirational story for us all.