Heart-Touching Touchdown: Local kid with Down Syndrome scores during football game
JENA, La. (KALB) - One simple play during a local youth football game in Central Louisiana turned into a moment that no one in attendance will soon forget.
The crowd cheered for 10-year-old Zade Rutledge as teammates and coaches helped him race into the endzone. Zane was born with Down Syndrome but has never let that obstacle or any defender stop him from scoring.
“Most Down Syndrome kids don’t get to play sports and do what he does,” said Zade’s father, Heath Rutledge. “The few that do, get to experience what he experiences. He will hopefully remember it for the rest of his life.”
From an early age, Zade tackled Down Syndrome head-on, from horseback riding at six months old, to playing sports starting at three. Perhaps what is most special though is that he has done it alongside his twin brother Zane.
“Most people really don’t notice this side of Down Syndrome, so for everybody to see this means a lot,” said Zade and Zane’s mother, Chasity.
The two brothers now play on the Bayou Mountain Rams team from Jena together, where they have a new band of brothers that have all treated Zade like one of their own. The team’s coach, Blake Davidson, said he knows Zade just wants to be treated like everyone else.
“I love Zade because I’m such a serious person when it comes to this and he brings the light I need to calm down,” said Davidson. “While I’m giving my best message, Zade is going around playing duck, duck goose, and I have to realize that that is what it’s all about.”
Zade’s team makes sure he finds a way to get in the endzone and make a tackle each game. In the ultimate sign of sportsmanship, both teams come together to help create a memorable moment for the Rutledge family.
In just a few minutes of being around Zade, he has a smile that is contagious, energy that is unmatched and a desire to score that is heart-touching for all that get to see.
Click here to report a typo. Please provide the title of the article in your email.
Copyright 2022 KALB. All rights reserved.