FLOWER MOUND (CBSDFW.COM) – It was first and ten near the end first quarter, when the Downing Middle School football coach made a call that made a dream come true.
“Pro 46 Power” was the play. Eiler Buck took the hand-off and then fumbled.
But if you think this would be a setback for the 16-year-old, you have no idea what this 16-year-old has been through.
“Eiler has been through probably 11 different surgeries on different parts of his body – four of them on his legs,” explained his mother, Mary Beth.
Eiler was born with a brain malformation. He can’t talk, swallow, and some wondered if he would ever be able to walk.
His father, Alex, said, “He falls down but he always dusts himself off, gets back up with a smile, and gets it done.”
Which is why on the very next play, Coach Drew Libby once again called Eiler’s number.
“I told him, ‘You got to go. Don’t fall down,’” said Libby. “’You got to get all the way to the end zone.’”
And he did.
With the guidance of his teammates and the collaboration of the team’s rival, Shadow Ridge Middle School, Eiler scored a touchdown on a 40-yard run.
He followed it up with a spike and a celebration few in the stadium will forget.
His teammate Jesse Corrales said, “It felt really good to the whole team because he like only gets to do that once in his life so we wanted to make it super special for him.”
Eiler had been asking to get into a game for years. He’s the football team’s manager and has watched every game for the past two years from the sidelines.
His coach knew what this would mean for him, but Libby said he was overwhelmed by what it’s meant for the rest of the team.
“He was these kids biggest fan,” the coach said. “He was at every game – cheering them on. Those kids love him and he loves those kids and we just thought it was time to flip the script.”
As soon as Eiler crossed the goal line, his teammates gathered around him to celebrate. The eighth grader was so caught up in the moment he forgot to do his touchdown dance that he had been practicing all week with his coach.
That night after the game, Eiler made a video of his dance and posted it on YouTube. At the end of the video, using sign language Eiler tell his team “thank you”.
“When things like this come out of the tough times, it makes easier to get through them,” said Eiler’s mother. “You see the light at the end of the tunnel. You see why the tough parts were so worth the great parts.”
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