DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Wednesday was a special night on the football field for one Lake Highlands junior high school player.
An incurable muscular disorder usually keeps the 12-year old watching from the sidelines, yet Brandon Landis suited-up for what turned out to be a memorable game for him, his family and teammates.
In the game of football individual study and determination helps build a dynamic player and teamwork helps drive touchdowns, but its heart and passion that bond a team. That spirit was in abundance at the latest Lake Highlands Junior High football game.
“It was neat to hear one of his friends say he just acts and goes about his day like there’s nothing wrong with him,” explained Brandon’s father, Drew Landis. “The other kids are inspired by that.”
From the bleachers Drew, and his wife Melissa, watched with anticipation as their son hit the field in full gear. For a moment, Brandon was just one of the boys.
“Four of the players came up to me and said, ‘Mrs. Landis, don’t worry. We got your baby. We got his back. You don’t need to worry about him. We got him’,” Melissa recalled.
Brandon is living with Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation, or NBIA. NBIA is a muscular disorder, with no known cure, that in the last few years has taken over Brandon’s body.
But his physical limitations aren’t stopping him from reaching his goal. “We were like, oh – you got some friends around you? They’re going to keep you up? He said, ‘No, I got this’,” Drew said proudly.
One touching moment during the game happened when Brandon got the ball and made it all the way to the end zone. A feat wrought with meaning – one documenting his march, not just down the field, but also in life.
And the words of encouragement were overflowing. “That was an awesome touchdown! We’re proud of you,” his family said.
Brandon said he gave the run his all, but wasn’t sure it would be enough. “I thought I wasn’t going to make it all the way,” he said of his touchdown.
The accomplishment created a moment that made the 12-year-old feel special. “How’d it feel when all these people were shouting your name?” Melissa asked her son. “Awesome! It was awesome!” he responded excitedly.
In the end the Lake highlands Wildcats were victorious, but perhaps the biggest winner was Brandon. The young man was able to play in a fantastic football game; giving he and his family memories that will always be cherished.
“We’ll get a copy of this. We’ll play this a lot, send this to family and friends who have prayed for us and been through this with us and been supporting us throughout this whole thing,” Drew said emotionally.
Drew says his son enjoys staying active; drawing strength and support from his teammates. It was Brandon’s teammates who encouraged him to play in the game. As team manager of the Wildcats, Brandon had never suited p and taken the field – but that was then.
Click here to learn more about Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation and follow along with Brandon on his journey.