Michigan Teen With Down Syndrome Scores Touchdown of a Lifetime | NBC Connecticut
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Michigan Teen With Down Syndrome Scores Touchdown of a Lifetime



    Two high school football teams in suburban Detroit came together Friday to give one young man his opportunity to shine. 

    Robby Heil, of Novi, Michigan, has Down syndrome. He's a senior at Novi High School, and proudly sports a jersey with the No. 24 as the football team's longtime water boy. 

    "Our team's seen him as part of the family," Novi coach Jeff Burnside told NBC affiliate WDIV.

    So when they learned that Robby's mother Debbie was battling cancer, they hatched a plan to give their family a very special memory.

    After a timeout during Friday's game against South Lyon High School, who was in on the plan, Robby took the field ready to play. The quarterback handed him the ball and he took off, running more than 20 yards to score a touchdown. 

    Debbie had no idea it was coming, and grew emotional watching her son fulfill a lifelong dream. 

    "It was incredible, I did not know about this," Debbie told WDIV through tears. "This team has just been so instrumental with helping me get him to practice like when I'm at chemo, and it really takes a village to raise my son and this village has really been outstanding."

    "No matter how bad a day he's having, it's a smile from ear-to-ear," Coach Burnside said. "An opportunity to put that helmet on tonight, it brought tears to my eyes and I'm pretty sure tears all over the place."

    While the touchdown didn't count for the game, even the opposing team joined in celebrating Heil's victory, presenting him with a South Lyon jersey bearing the No. 1.