CHATSWORTH, Ga. — Sometimes high school football players get a bad rap, but members of a team in Georgia showed the size of their hearts when they made the dreams of a 5-year-old boy come true.
Ben Holloway always knew he wanted to play football, but his game plan changed dramatically when he was diagnosed with a rare and fatal brain disease last year, according to his Believing 4 Ben *GoFundMe page. Over the next year, he underwent three surgeries to fight a golf-ball sized pocket of blood that had formed just behind his left eye.
Doctors gave the Holloways pretty grim odds, but Ben beat them — despite all his setbacks, the 5-year-old started kindergarten this month.
"He's going to have checkups to make sure nothing is wrong every six months, but there's a possibility that it could be gone and there will be no need for a fourth surgery," Ben's father, Josh Holloway, told ABC News. "He's been doing great. You'd never known anything was ever wrong with him."
But there was still something doctors didn't want him to do, and that was play football. The risk of head trauma is just too great.
Enter the Murray County High School football team. They'd heard Ben's story and decided it was up to them to make his football dreams a reality. So they staged a game in which Ben could safely hit the field without fear of injury to his still-fragile brain.
So in May, when the team surprised Ben with a custom Murray County High jersey, complete with his last name, Ben was shocked.
"He was like a kid at Christmas time," Holloway told CBS News. "It was like Christmas morning for him — it really was."
Ben donned a white helmet and set out to score a touchdown, surrounded by his protective teammates. It didn't take long for him to cross the line into the end zone. Scrambling down the field, Ben fell only a couple of times, but each time jumped back up with determination until he reached the goal line and put six points on the scoreboard.
With him being so little and all these high school-age boys showing him so much love and support, I think that has touched a lot of people.
–Katie Holloway, Ben's mom
"The entire team picked him up, chanting, 'Ben! Ben! Ben!" Holloway said. "I've never seen him so happy or ecstatic. He was on cloud nine."
Lucky for all of us, the whole thing was caught on video. It's been viewed nearly 500,000 times on the MaxPreps Facebook page since it was originally posted there.
Ben's parents have been blown away by the reaction to the video, and for the support they've received for their little boy.
"I was told by a lot of family and friends we had there when they filmed the video that there was not a dry eye in the house when Ben was making his touchdown run," Katie Holloway, Ben's mom, told the Dalton Daily Citizen. "With him being so little and all these high school-age boys showing him so much love and support, I think that has touched a lot of people."
As for Ben, he still watches the video of his now-famous touchdown every night, according to his parents.
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