The Cleveland Browns marked their annual Family Night practice by allowing a cancer-stricken boy to score a touchdown in front of nearly 25,000 fans.
Wearing a full Browns uniform and pads, Ryan Encinas, a 5-year-old boy from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, scored a 40-yard touchdown at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Encinas fumbled during the run, but managed to make it to the end zone, where most of the Browns’ roster rushed to meet him.
“How ‘bout that first-round draft pick there, Ryan Encinas, scoring the winning touchdown tonight?” Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski asked reporters after the game. Encinas’ father, Robert, mother, Angela, and young sister were on hand to watch the 5-year-old’s touchdown run.
Encinas received the rare opportunity through Littlest Heroes, a nonprofit group that works to improve the lives of children who have been diagnosed with cancer, The Beacon Journal reports. He was first diagnosed with lung cancer at age 2, when a tumor was found on his left lung. However, Encinas celebrated the two-year anniversary of the cancer’s remission on Aug. 2.
“That was cool. When Chud told us we were going to do that in team meetings, I was pumped about it,” Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden told reporters. “The kid is 5 years old, and he’s been through a lot.”Ryan
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The idea of Encinas’ touchdown run originated with Chudzinski’s son, Kaelan, he reportedly suggested the idea after seeing a similar scene involving the University of Nebraska football team, The Beacon Journal reports. In July, the Cornhuskers allowed 7-year-old Jack Hoffman, also afflicted with cancer, to score a touchdown during a team practice.
The video of Encinas’ touchdown run at the Browns’ Family night practice has since gone viral. The video can be seen below.