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Carter High School student with developmental disabilities gets chance on football field

A dream came true on the gridiron Friday night for a young man in Knoxville. Carter High School senior Wesley Rice, 21, got to kick off his team's football game.

This Friday's football game was more than a decade in the making for Wesley Rice.

"There's nothing better. It was... speechless," said his dad Jamie Rice.

Wesley Rice's moment on the field was the true definition of defying the odds and proved that perseverance pays off. 

"Wesley has had neurological issues since he was three. So he is developmentally delayed. That hasn't held his spirit down," Jamie Rice said. 

Football is Wesley Rice's passion, and it has been since he was in elementary school. This year, his dad says, is Wesley Rice's first year on a football team. Friday night was his first game.

"We told him he had to practice. The previous coach told him he had to practice. And he, for the last two years, has been in the backyard punting the football, punting the football. For an hour and then he would come inside for 30 minutes, and then an hour and then come inside for 30 minutes," Jamie Rice said.

Family, friends and an entire community cheered him on.

"It is incredibly important, not only to Wesley because it's a monumental thing for him, but it's monumental for our students to learn to embrace someone else and put someone else more important than themselves," said Carter High Principal Angie Messer.

"I would like to thank all the people at Carter. The coaches at Carter, especially Coach Roach," said Jamie Rice. "A lot of people did a lot of things to get this ready and again it just blows me away."

This is a day Wesley Rice will talk about for many more to come. 

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