A Michigan high school football team came together to surprise their water boy, who has Down syndrome, by setting him up to score a touchdown, his father and the team's head coach told ABC News today.
Robby Heil, a senior at Novi High School, has held the position of "hydration manager" for the school's football team for four years, his father Chuck Heil said.
Last Friday, the team put Robby in the game and tossed him the ball. As the crowd chanted his name, Robby ran down the field and scored a touchdown. Heil captured the moment on his video camera, while Robby's mother fell to her knees with joy as she watched from the sidelines.
Heil described his son as "really outgoing" and that "all the players really love him." The coaches and players, including the opposing team, were in on the surprise, according to Heil.
"[Robby] was practicing during the week. He knew something was up," Heil said.
Heil said the family was incredibly happy and surprised from all of the support they have received. He noted that the opposing team even gave Robby a jersey that all the teammates had signed.
"I think the sportsmanship is just the amazing part. The other coach could have just said no," Heil said.
Heil said following the game Robby was "very happy" and "smiling ear-to-ear."
Head coach Jeff Burnside, who planned the whole event, told ABC News, "Robby is just a great kid, he means a lot to the kids."
Burnside said he contacted the coach of the other team, who "was immediately all for it."
"The sportsmanship from both sides was just awesome," Burnside added. "Their coaches were in tears, our coaches were in tears, their stands also had signs with Robby’s numbers up in the stands."
Burnside said that he trained Robby all week for the play, treating him as he would any other member of the team.
"I am hoping that everybody can learn from him. I have learned so much from him in the past four years," Burnside said. "I’ve learned more from him than I’ve probably taught him."