MIAMI (WSVN) - For many young athletes, sports provide an outlet for their energy and a path to personal growth. However, for 5-year-old Zander Miller, who battles Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), football means much more.
Growing up in Liberty City, where football is a way of life, Zander’s love for the game recently culminated in a heartwarming moment that captured the hearts of the community.
“[Football is] super duper-duper fun,” said Zander as he recalled as he scored his first-ever touchdown two weeks ago. “My mom said ‘Go, Zander.'” On video, his mom Lillian yelled, “Go, Zander! Run!”
“And then I was running super fast, Like Sonic [the Hedgehog]. Then I kept running and made the score,” said Zander.
Lillian emphasized the positive impact of football on her son’s life.
“Not a lot of people know and know how to deal with kids with ADHD,” said Lillian. “And with [Zander] having ADHD, this sport made him more concentrated, be able to communicate with his team players, and hold that restrain of so much energy. I mean, just a ball of life.”
In a heartwarming display of unity, the two teams decided to give Zander his time to shine.
Zander, who plays for the Gwen Cherry Bulls, scored his memorable touchdown against the Overtown Tornadoes.
“To see this kid work hard every day, knowing the position that he’s in, and the game was over, but I asked the coach to give me one more play,” recalled T.Y. Hilton Sr., Bulls Head Coach. “He came up and touched me, and said, ‘Coach, I want to run the ball.’ I couldn’t turn down that kid. He scored the touchdown.”
This incredible display of sportsmanship also had a resounding effect on the community.
“One of the best nights that we’ve had in a long time in sports,” said Lillian. “You don’t get a lot of people celebrating the ADHD, the disabilities that kids have. So to see everyone come together, rally and be supportive, was amazing. It was a joy. I enjoyed it.”
The uplifting moment reminds us of the immense power of sports.
“They were saying my name because I made the score and when I turned around it was all over,” said Zander.
During his remarkable run, Zander even paused to embrace one of his coaches. Assistant coach Seku Smith expressed his pride in Zander.
“It was special to me because a lot of teams may not offer this kid an opportunity,” said Smith. “For him to get in and score his first touchdown — for him to look in my eyes and smile and run into me when he’s trying to score his first touchdown, I mean it’s like him feeling like my own blood son.”
“I heard them because [a kid tried to] tackle me,” said Zander. “When he said, ‘Go,’ I [ran in] and made a touchdown.”
Zander’s touchdown was so unexpected, that it even threw his mom off guard as she let her excitement get the better of her camera skills.
“It’s always a first for me to just be excited,” said Lillian, “and want to scream for joy, but on the inside, I’m screaming, ‘Wow, that was my baby. He did that.’ I’m proud of him.”
This unforgettable moment will forever hold a special place in Zander’s heart as he continues to overcome challenges and shine in the world of football.
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