Father/Son Pair Helps Injured High Schoolers Off the Field

AbilityVoice: a blog about mobility topics

With the Super Bowl just behind us, BraunAbility would like to share a timely story about some young men whose lives have been transformed by football...but not in a way they'd ever hoped to experience.

CNN recently featured this moving story about the Gridiron Heroes, an organization founded by Eddie Canales, a father who watched his son, Chris, get tackled during his Senior Night and never stand up again. Chris had broken his neck and was unable to move or feel anything below the shoulders.

We still love the game of football. But we need to do a better job to help these young men.

--CNN Hero Eddie Canales

His recovery was tumultuous. As Chris and his family struggled with the reality of his condition, Eddie looked for a distraction for the son who had always been so physically active. He decided to take Chris to a high school football game. As they watched the game, the unthinkable happened: a player was hit and left immobilized on the field. At that moment Chris and Eddie both knew they could help this player, and players who were facing the same future.

Gridiron Heroes supports athletes who have experienced a spinal cord injury and their families as they face the physical, mental, emotional and financial challenges of the injury. The father-son team travels across the country in their wheelchair van to educate teens on preventive practices as well. And with some outside support, they've managed to pick up several injured athletes in wheelchair vans or wheelchair lifts and bring them to NFL football games.

For all the excitement that comes with a Super Bowl game, it's important to remember the game's more tragic headlines...and most importantly, to appreciate those who are helping the injured off the field. To read more about the story and to watch the CNN feature story, click here!