8th-Graders Devise Secret, Inspiring Touchdown Play
Olivet Middle School's football team wanted to make Keith Orr's day
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2013 3:26 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Talk about a touching touchdown: Sheridan Hedrick was about to hit the end zone at a Olivet Middle School football game in Michigan on Oct. 5 when he stopped at the one-yard line. Unbeknownst to anyone, the 8th-grade team was about to perform the "Keith Special"—a play that can only be completed by Keith Orr, a student with behavioral and learning disabilities. "He always tries his hardest," Sheridan told WILX. "We thought it would be cool to do something and have him get a touchdown." Keith ran the ball across the goal line and "the stadium erupted," said the team's coach. "The kids have never celebrated a touchdown as enthusiastically as Keith's touchdown."

It was a play Keith's teammates had come up with on their own, and one that was weeks in the making. "The coaches didn't know anything about it," one player tells CBS News. "If you do something nice to people, then probably it could change someone's life forever, and I think we changed Keith's life," Sheridan said. "That's what gets to me," said Keith's mom. "Not that my kid made a touchdown, but that these kids planned it. ... They made it happen for him." As for Keith, he said the touchdown was "awesome," adding, "before I started playing football I barely had any friends. Now I have a bunch." (Click for another heart-warming sports story.)

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
Nov 1, 2013 10:51 PM CDT
I could not get this vid to play. In the WILX link it "played" but did not fully display. CBS version played
Nov 1, 2013 8:13 PM CDT
This meant well, but in the long run it was not the best choice on how to make the child happy. Football does cause measurable brain injuries in at least half of all high school players and it should not be encouraged or be a source of inspiration. There are other choices for how to help disadvantaged students make great accomplishments. I worked as a substitute teacher and in a special education class there was an autistic high school student who became a champion weight lifter. His accomplishment was not only a source of inspiration for himself, but he helped others whom he trained to grow both physically and mentally. What he gave of himself was real. You would not want to befriend children by taking them to McDonald's no matter how much it might mean to them because it is an unwholesome choice. There are better options. So please don't put them in a pugilistic game like football because there are plenty of other sports from which to choose that do a better job building people up physically and in character in which people can excel.
Nov 1, 2013 7:12 PM CDT
I am humbled by such kindness. A great bunch of kids.