Lerner handles Crohn's, Florida's punting duties

AP Sports Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Just days before fall practice, Florida punter David Lerner found out he had Crohn's disease.

The disorder causes inflammation in the digestive or gastrointestinal tract and can be uncomfortable and debilitating. For Lerner, it also came at the worst possible time. After spending three years sitting behind Chas Henry and waiting for a shot at the starting job, he initially thought it would derail his chance of playing for the Gators.

Instead, it may have driven him to succeed.

Despite regular hospital visits, time-consuming IVs and the uncertainty of a disease he knew little about, Lerner has managed to win the starting job and earn a scholarship. An even bigger reward comes Saturday, assuming Lerner gets on the field during No. 22 Florida's season opener against Florida Atlantic.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)