By Kayleigh Rahn
Colton’s courage has inspired many.
The Tuscola boy won over Central Illinois when a feel-good story went viral online made him overnight local celebrity. Colton played host to member many of the University of Illinois football team during his biddy basketball game following an eye surgery. In the final minutes of the game, he hit the game winning shot, sending the North Ward gym in to a frenzy.
And more than a month later, the fan mail continues to come in and he’s been recognized at a U of I basketball game; however, there’s still something more Colton would like to do.
He simply wants to play football–a game he’ll likely never play in earnest due to his cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Unless, that is, his family can push off the ground a new youth league flag football league.
“Colton Rahn won’t be able to play tackle football due the blood clot in his brain,” said his father Jason Rahn. “There is a chance it has calcified, but there is no guarantee. If not, one hit could move the clot to the center, which could cause the unthinkable. Colton likes basketball, but football is his true love, and the visit from the Illini football team reignited that passion.”
Colton has been holding a football since he was able to grasp, and he’s reached an age when his buddies will be heading to Tuscola Junior Football League practice this summer.
“And we have to tell him, ‘sorry, but you’ll have to watch,’” Rahn said.
And, yet, maybe not.
Rahn has found the NFL FLAG Football program that would allow Colton to participate in a sport he loves within a safe level of contact for his abilities and diagnosis. NFL FLAG is the largest flag football program in the nation and offers a non-contact football experience for boys and girls ages 5-17. And over the past months, Colton’s family has worked to educate the community and gage if there would be enough interest to begin the league this summer.
“We have a great JFL program, and we are not looking to take away anything from that program,” Rahn said. “And I’m a supporter of tackle football; I played and I think it’s a fantastic experience for everyone who is able. We’re hoping this can give other children, including Colton, a chance to participate in this team sport. This will add another summer activity for kids.”
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, March 21 edition of The Tuscola Journal.