Water boy with Down syndrome scores touchdown for terminally ill mom

Posted at 1:42 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 13:42:48-04

DETROIT — A lot of big touchdowns have been scored so far this year in the first couple of weeks of football season. But none probably meant as much as the touchdown Robby Heil scored last week.

Heil’s the water boy for the football team at Novi High School in Novi, Michigan. He has Down Syndrome and has been a big part of the team for four years.


In a game last week, the team showed Robby just how much he meant to them by handing him the ball in the second quarter and letting him run more than 20 yards for a score. (The opposing team was OK with it; they even gave him a jersey.)

“This is something that we thought we could do to bring some joy, hopefully some outstanding memories,” Novi head coach Jeff Burnside told CNN affiliate WXYZ.

Robby was thrilled, but someone watching on the sideline was even more elated — his mother, Debbie Heil, who has terminal bone cancer.

“I dropped to the ground because I was so emotional when I saw him make that touchdown,” Heil told WXYZ. “I’ve always been proud of him being the water boy, or as people call him the hydration manager, but this was incredible.”