CLEVELAND, Texas – Scoring a touchdown is the dream of any football player and, on Thursday night, coaches and players at Tarkington Middle School made sure that happened for one of their teammates.
James Kelly was diagnosed with autism when he was a toddler.
“I can remember sitting at Texas Children’s when they told us that he had lesions of the brain consistent with autism,” said James “Jimbo” Kelly, James’ father. “Initial shock. What? Why? How come?”
Kelly and his wife made a decision not to let the diagnosis define their son.
“I told her my way of looking at it: Basically, God said he had a special little boy who was looking for a special mom and dad,” said Kelly.
They’ve supported their son in all of his dreams, which include playing football.
“I was surprised. We didn’t expect anything like this,” said Kristin Kelly. “We just wanted him to be part of the team in some way, because he loves football so much and he loves his classmates."
Coaches and teammates practiced the 349 Kelly Special all week, to pass 14-year-old James the ball and have him score a touchdown.
He did just that at the homecoming game on Thursday night.