Feeling included is a big reason why some kids are drawn to sports.
This is especially important for kids like 8-year-old Karter Gardenhire, whose Spina Bifida inhibits him in many ways. Karter uses a wheelchair to get around, but his mother Chelsea Gardenhire says he’s never let his disability get in the way of achieving his goals.
“Karter has beat every obstacle against him,” Chelsea explained. “He sat up at 5 months old when they told me he wouldn’t do that until he’s at least 5. He plays basketball, does track and has even walked. Karter doesn’t let anything stop him.”
Karter loves sports and is a dedicated member his town’s youth football program in Clearwater, Kansas. All of his teammates and coaches do their best to make sure Karter participates as much as he can, but at a recent championship game against rivals from Newton, they went above and beyond to give the 2nd-grader a piece of the action.
A bystander recording video of the game captured the moment when Karter joined his team on the field. A teammate pushed his wheelchair as the team crouched down and began the play. Coach Richard Owens can be seen giving Karter a few pointers before the whistle blows, and then as soon as the ball is in play both teams conspire to get the ball into Karter’s waiting hands.
As the crowd cheers wildly, Karter’s teammate pushes his wheelchair as fast as he can through the scrum and into the end zone. Touchdown!
“The best part, when you watch the clip, is when Karter tries to stiff the kid who gets too close,” said the coach. “He has no limits and he is going to be a game changer when he gets older.”
Chelsea says that the entire crowd of parents were visibly moved by the show of sportsmanship they’d just witnessed. Not only did his teammates come through to help Karter experience the thrill of scoring, but the other team even helped make it happen!
“Everybody was crying,” said Chelsea. “Afterwards, Karter was like, ‘Did you see that? Did you see how I got through all those guys?’ Words can’t describe how proud I am of him.”
Karter is the captain of his team this season and has attended every single game, but this was his first opportunity to run the ball. He’s still talking about his big moment, especially now that video of the play is going viral online. In spite of all the hullabaloo, Chelsea says that just being included in the team is what’s most important to her son.
“Wearing a jersey and being part of the team, those are the things that really matter to Karter,” she explained. “He just wants to share experiences with all his friends.”
To think, at Chelsea’s 5-month ultrasound with Karter, doctors told her he would likely die after birth. Now he’s a healthy and happy member of a football team who has even scored a touchdown. This kid is unstoppable! It just goes to show you that with love and support in our lives, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.
Watch Karter’s amazing touchdown in the video below, and don’t forget to share.
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