In what has become easily the best trend in sports, five-year-old Ryan Encinas scored a touchdown during a Cleveland Browns Family Night practice in front of a crowd of 24,000 people.
Encinas was selected by the Littlest Heroes, a nonprofit organization that impacts the lives of children with cancer and their families. A tumor was discovered on Ryan’s left lung at age 2, but he celebrated two years of remission Aug. 2.
“To have this moment in front of these fans in this stadium, I’m getting chills right now,” rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo said. “I’m sure it meant a lot to that little kid.”
Chudzinski said his 5-year-old son, Kaelan, suggested the idea after watching a similar scene unfold on TV. Brain cancer patient Jack Hoffman, 7, ran for a 69-yard touchdown this year during the University of Nebraska’s spring game.
Look out, Trent Richardson—it looks like there is a young runner gunning for your job. Or maybe they'll just split carries...
Here's Encinas after he reached the end zone, surrounded by the refs and Browns, via the team's official Twitter account:
Awesome moment, Ryan Encinas (fighting a left lung tumor) runs in for a touchdown. He's a fighter!!!!! pic.twitter.com/87ZqXoYeHa— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 4, 2013
And here he is embracing his proud mother after his mad dash to pay dirt, via the team's Instagram account:
Finally, here's the run that inspired this trend, Hoffman's touchdown at Nebraska's spring practice.
As trends in sports go, hopefully this is one that will continue for a long, long time. Moments like this, moments that uplift and move us, provide a reminder of the true power of sports. We can all remember what it is like to be a kid and look up to our sporting heroes, and how powerful a simple gesture like having a young cancer survivor run for a touchdown can truly be.
So hats off to the Browns organization, the players and the Littlest Heroes for putting this moment together.