An 18-year-old with Down syndrome, who joined his Alabama high school’s varsity football team, scored a touchdown in a heartwarming moment captured on video.
Jake Pratt started out as the manager of the football team at Vestavia Hills High School two years ago and would come in one day a week to help out. But recently, he decided he wanted to have a uniform like the players.
His coach, Buddy Johnson, however, said that if he wanted to “dress out” like the rest of the team, Jake would have to show up to practice just like everyone else.
“He did all the summer workouts and weight lifting and running,” Johnson, who has worked at the school for 46 years, told InsideEdition.com. “Some days it was real tough, but he did all the work.”’
Johnson said Jake had been doing so well that the team wanted to do something special for him.
At the school’s game against Briarwood Christian School on Saturday, Johnson arranged for Jake to score a touchdown at the end of the match.
In a video captured of the special moment, Jake ran a 35-yard touchdown as the entire stadium cheered him on. His teammates and players from Briarwood then ran down the field to congratulate him.
My brother, Jake, is 18 & a senior at Vestavia. He also happens to have Down Syndrome. Tonight 2 teams helped to make his dream come true! pic.twitter.com/uLoP3KH8KR— Amy Hyde (@Amy_Lissa) August 26, 2017
“He was ecstatic. He still is,” Johnson told InsideEdition.com. “It was a very moving moment. We are very proud of Jake.”
Jake will continue to attend all the team’s practices throughout the year.
“He’ll be here the whole season,” Johnson said. “Because he has worked and done all of the work that the rest of the team have done, they accept him and to them, he is a part of a team.”