MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey high schooler with Down syndrome scored his first touchdown for his new football team with his brother by his side and a whole crowd of people cheering him on.
With seemingly the whole town behind him, Kevin Hasenbein is trying to come up with a new touchdown dance. After all, he’ll need it for the next time he scores.
“I appreciate how everyone has responded so kindly to him,” the Kevin’s brother, Eric, tells CBS2.
Eric is also on the school’s team, and invited his older brother – who attends another school – to join practices and meetings even though he wasn’t officially a team member.
Then, he transferred to Morristown High School at the beginning of the year.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Eric said. “It’s my first year playing a team sport with him.”
19-year-old Kevin has Down syndrome, and has always wanted to play in a game instead of just sit on the sideline. He finally got that opportunity at their homecoming this past Saturday.
“He is here to participate,” head coach John Power said. “He’s involved every day, and brings a great spirit and energy to that program.”
“We just want to make sure we’re moving forward with the Morristown School District that every student belongs,” said Director of Pupil Service Dr. Jessica Neu.
Video captured the amazing moment the teen had been waiting for. You can see Kevin running an astonishing 80 yards for the first score of the game, spiking the ball into the end zone and dancing with teammates.
“He’s always at practice,” said Morristown senior Collin Falk, “in the weight room to see him go 80 yards against a really great team is inspiring.”
It created a heartfelt moment for Kevin and Eric’s dad, Klaus.
“Watching your sons play and practice on a team, to get support from other players and fans, everyone it was a proud moment,” he said.
The opposing team, Delbarton, worked with Kevin’s squad to make the play happen.