At age 4, TSRHC patient Tyler and his twin brother, Sterling, met former Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware at a public appearance near their home.
The boy’s mother, Cindy, distinctly remembers Tyler, who was born missing the lower portion of his right arm, asking Ware for more than an autograph that day.
“Tyler said, ‘Mr. Ware, with my one arm, do you think I could ever play football?’” she recalls. “And he told Tyler, ‘If you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want.’”
Tyler knew exactly what he wanted — to play football.
Today the determined 13-year-old is a highly respected member of his middle school football team, for which he plays linebacker and right guard. “He’s not out there for people to say, ‘Hey, look at the guy with one hand playing football,’” the team’s head coach, Scott Starnes, says. “He’s trying to win.” Tyler’s trophy-laden bookcase indicates that he has done exactly that.
At his mother’s urging, he entered an NFL-sponsored video contest to tell his football story for a chance to win tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII. From a field of thousands, the NFL chose 10 finalists, filmed documentary-style films of each and posted them online for viewers to vote for their favorite. Tickets would be awarded to the top five contestants.
The film featuring Tyler was one of the winners, securing votes from around the world. He, along with his parents and his brother, received an all-expense paid trip to New York City for a week of activities leading up to seeing the big game live from a luxury suite at MetLife Stadium.
Shortly after the family’s return to Texas, Frisco Mayor Maher Maso even declared a day in Tyler’s honor.
“The support of my family and my community has been amazing,” Tyler says.
His sports journey is just beginning. Tyler is also part of an elite baseball team and plans to take up basketball.
“I would tell anybody not to give up on their dream, no matter what the obstacles are,” Tyler says. “Because if you practice hard enough, you will get way better at what you’re trying to achieve.”
See Tyler’s inspirational, winning video: www.togetherwemakefootball.com
**This article was featured in our 2014 Volume 1 Rite Up Magazine