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Gravette Boy with Special Needs Scores First Touchdown

GRAVETTE, AR -- Ethan Spear struggles with heart problems and is autistic, but that didn't stop him from finding the end zone.
"They cheered me on." - Ethan Spear
A touchdown meant more than just six points for one Gravette boy.

It led to cheers from teammates, fans and even opponents.

"I've had him in P.E. class, and he talks about scoring touchdowns," says Gravette football coach Duke Mobley.

Like a lot of kids, Ethan Spear dreams of carrying a football across the goal line and sending a crowd of fans to their feet.

But, more than just linebackers stand in his way.

The Gravette 8th grader has heart problems and is autistic.

"Ethan came to me and wanted to play football," Mobley says.

"And I was hesitant."

Mobley checked with Ethan's parents, who gave the go-ahead.

So last Thursday, under stadium lights at an away game in Prairie Grove, Ethan's stage was set at midfield.

"When I told him we were going to put him in the ball game his response was to me, he said 'Coach I can't protect myself,'" Mobley says.

"We said, 'Ethan you don't have to worry about it because we're going to protect ya.'"

The rookie running back took the hand-off.

"Our kids blocked," Mobley says.

"He was going down Prairie Grove's sideline."

Yard by yard, the boy's dream was coming true.

"They cheered me on." Ethan says.

Fifty yards and 6 points later...

"I told him I said 'Ethan, you scored' and he goes 'I know, I know,'" Mobley says.

"For him it was just pretty special. The officials came over and high-fived him as he came off the field."

Ethan's mom Michelle didn't get to see it person, but later saw it on video.

"I said 'Ethan I heard you got a touchdown' and he said 'I did mom, I got a really big touchdown,'" says Michelle Spear.

Bigger than the score on the scoreboard.

Ethan had already won.

"Anything is possible no matter what restrictions or abilities your kid does or does not have, anything is possible," Spear says.

Ethan adds: "It felt good."

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