The Touchdown of His Life

Ben loves football, but because of his condition and his brain surgeries he will never be able to play on a football team.  It is almost impossible to play American football without suffering from head injuries, and this is true even for children who play on organized teams.  Knowing this, a very special football team gave Ben the chance to play with them in their stadium and to score a touchdown last Friday night, an event that was covered by the local newspaper and on television. Before the game   The Murray County High School football team in Chatsworth, GA (the school for which Ben’s dad played football when he was in high school) made Ben a team member for their annual Green and White Game and treated our little guy as if he were a true celebrity. On Thursday night, Ben went to the stadium to practice with the team (24 sec.) …

 

For the Friday night game, the team printed posters that were handed out to the crowd and placed banners on the fence surrounding the football field.  The coach surprised our family by wearing the same sort of “Ben Strong” shirt that we all wore to support our little trooper. (6 images)

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Before the game began, Ben posed for photos with some of the Murray County football cheerleaders… Posing with cheerleaders

And to our surprise a sports reporter and cameraman from Channel 3, the NBC News affiliate in Chattanooga, TN, showed up to interview Ben and his parents… Channel 3 news interview

Ben had to wait until the game was nearing halftime before he would have the opportunity to play.  In the meantime, the sports reporter sent out a series of tweets on Twitter, announcing the upcoming story on the 11 o’clock news (5 images)…

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Just before the half, Ben got ready… Dad and Ben coming into the stadium Putting on his shoulder pads Shoulder pads are on

And waited on the sidelines with the team… Waiting on the sidelines

He donned his helmet… Donning his helmet

But to this grandmother he looked so little when he finally took his place on the field…

And then he had the ball and began to run for a touchdown… He has the ball

Although he ran down the field with no problem during practice, the weight of the shoulder pads and helmet and even the football itself caused him to lose his footing.  But he got back up and kept running… A fall

As the White Team players tried to “tackle” him, the Green Team players blocked for him, and he ran for a touchdown… Touchdown

He was hoisted high in the air, with his teammates chanting, “Ben, Ben, Ben!” Little hero

After the touchdown run, there was one more run, this time through a large banner held by the cheerleaders (6 images)…

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Our little scorer was so happy and proud… Proud scorer His expression says it all

Ben was able to keep the football jersey, shoulder pads, and helmet the team had purchased for him to wear. He also went home with a football autographed by all of the Murray County football players… Posing with signed football

There is no way our family can thank Murray County High School enough.  The football players, coaches, cheerleaders, and everyone who put so much into this event are all amazing and have filled our hearts with so much joy.  They have given our little boy the experience of a lifetime.

We are grateful, too, for the news media who reported this story.  The local newspaper, which is a weekly paper, was published today and featured Ben on the first page of their sports section.  Because we live so far away, we haven’t yet received our copy.  Chattanooga Channel 3 aired Ben’s story at least 3 times.  Here is that video…

 

Please remember Ben as he and his parents travel to New York in just over a week.  It has been a year since his two brain surgeries, and he will be having follow-up tests and additional surgery if necessary.  Thanks to everyone for their encouragement, thoughts, and prayers.

After the game 1 After the game 2

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15 thoughts on “The Touchdown of His Life

  1. The jersey and the touchdown run would have been wonderful, even if that was the total experience. But so much thought and love went into adding all the perfect details! I am so glad he got to experience this, and I am so glad for this evidence of human kindness.

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    • Thank you, Joye. He still must have physical therapy for his foot. His muscles are not growing as fast as his bones. There was neurological damage from before he was ever diagnosed with the fistula. I appreciate your love and prayers! Please give Miss Dee my love.

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