It’s a video that has the internet in tears: Karter Gardenhire, a football player with spina bifida, crosses the goal line in a wheelchair as the crowd erupts into cheers.
“Everybody was crying,” the 8-year-old’s mom, Chelsea Gardenhire, told TODAY Parents. “Afterwards, Karter was like, 'Did you see that? Did you see how I got through all those guys?' Words can't describe how proud I am of him."
The Clearwater, Kansas second grader attended every game as captain, but this was his first time running the ball. He didn't know he was going in until seconds before.
“The best part, when you watch the clip, is when Karter tries to stiff the kid who gets too close,” coach Richard Owens raved. “He has no limits and he is going to be a game changer when he gets older.”
Gardenshire agrees that her son is pretty extraordinary. She remembers being told by doctors at her 5-month ultrasound that Karter would likely die soon after birth.
“Karter has beat every obstacle against him,” Gardenshire revealed. “He sat up at 5 months old when they told me he wouldn’t do that until he’s at least 5. He plays basketball, does track and has even walked. Karter doesn’t let anything stop him.”
Though Karter is still talking about his touchdown, Gardenshire said he was just as happy sitting on the sidelines with his buddies.
“Wearing a jersey and being part of the team, those are the things that really matter to Karter,” she explained. “He just wants to share experiences with all his friends.”