Seventh grader Tyler Johnson’s Prescott Middle School football team lost its game to River Falls last week, but he scored a touchdown. That’s a big deal, the Hastings Star Gazette reports, because he has Fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that has led to learning disabilities and cognitive disabilities.
He wanted to play football this year, and the coaches embraced him on the team, with no guarantees of any playing time. He showed up for practices and was apparently OK with the fact he hadn’t been in a game so far this season…
With his team trailing late in the game, one of the Prescott coaches walked over to Tyler and struck up a conversation. Then, with about nine seconds to play, the coach brought Tyler on to the field. They handed the ball off to him on the next play, and Tyler raced toward the end zone. He scored a touchdown, and people cheered like wild.
“The funny thing is, when he started to run, he saw the kids from the other team coming toward him, so he turned around and started running the wrong way,” Angie Johnson said. “They turned him around, and he scored a touchdown. It was just awesome.”
The Prescott coaches had talked to the coaches of the opposing team from River Falls, and they had agreed to let Tyler score, the paper reports. “The boys on the River Falls team were understanding, too, and while they chased after Tyler they knew to let him score.”
His mom was videotaping the whole scene, until the camera ran out of film time before he scored.