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Kamal's Story
Faith is an important part of Kamal Nasher's life.

The Central Valley High School varsity football player prays five times a day. A devout Muslin, Nasher abstains from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk each year during the holy month of Ramadan (Aug. 11-Sept. 9).

"It gets tougher every year because you have more things to do as you grow up," Kamal said. "The past few years, I haven't missed a day. You never get used to it. You suffer. But after you're done, you're happy."

Nasher visited his parents' homeland, Yemen, this past summer. He was joined by his father, mother, three brothers and one sister.

"I had no time to work out when I was there," he said. "I was thinking about quitting football because I lost muscle and conditioning. I decided to stay on the team after I talked with my coach and counselor."

Sam Nasher, Kamal's older brother, fasted when he played football at Central Valley two years ago.

"What he (Kamal) is going through is very important to him and his family," Hawks head coach Tim Garcia said. "We're trying to be supportive as much as possible. We want to make sure he enjoys his senior year."

Kamal missed the first few weeks of practice while his mind and body adjusted to life without food and water. Unable to eat or drink anything for up to 14 hours straight each day, Nasher lost 17 pounds.

"You can't even chew gum," Nasher said.

Kamal was limited to non-contact drills until the last three days of his fast.

"My team wanted to see how I'd do," he said. "It was fun. I was getting tired fast."

Nasher made his debut with the the Hawks during Week 3. He contributed on special teams in Central Valley's 42-24 rout of Grace Davis on Sept. 17 at Bulldog Stadium.

"It was different," said Kamal, who last played football at the JV level as a sophomore. "There were more fans. There's more pressure on you."

Kamal feasted on pancakes, eggs, hash browns and toast at Denny's the morning his month-long fast ended.

"I cleaned up my plate," Nasher said. "I still need to gain some weight."

Kamal has been tempted to break his fast at times. He's shown self-restraint the past five years.

"My main friends know what I go through," Nasher said. "They see me lose weight. It's all worth it in the end. I plan on doing this my entire life."

Added Garcia: "He's a very disciplined individual."