Elias Ataddlety has not had an easy life. The senior at Gracemont High in Oklahoma suffers from cerebral palsy and travels around campus in a motorized wheelchair. None of this is to say that Ataddlety doesn’t live a full and happy life. The teen has friends across all grades and activities on campus and can frequently be found flashing an infectious smile. And nothing makes him more happy and excited than taking his spot on the sidelines as a member of the Gracemont football team.
As reported by Oklahoma City ABC affiliate KOCO, Ataddlety had never played a down before Senior Night, but that hardly means he was only a token member of the team. Rather, his teammates insist he is the heart and soul of the Gracemont squad. That’s why they insisted that he have an active role in the team’s season finale during his final season.
With the Lions already facing a sure loss against Waynoka, trailing 64-7, the Gracemont team came up with an idea. Without telling Ataddlety, the Lions lined up on their final possession and, just before snapping the football, picked Ataddlety out of his wheelchair and brought him on the field in the running back slot. After taking a snap, the senior was given the ball, then carried downfield as he worked his way toward the end zone.
As soon as Ataddlety cross the goal line he and his teammates celebrated wildly, and still glows when thinking back on his magical moment.
“I was happy when I made it,” Ataddlety told KOCO. “I almost cried, but I didn’t want to cry.”