The Emotional Story Of A High School Water Boy Who Rushed For A TD In Front Of His Cancer-Stricken Mother

It’s easy to be cynical in a sports world filled with flaming hot takes, but every so often a story comes along that shines a light on why sports matter to so many people.

The story of Robby Heil, a senior “hydration manager” for Novi High School in Detroit, is one such tale. Heil, who has down syndrome, put down the water bottles and put on the pads under Friday night lights as the Wildcats took on South Lyon East. With 10:33 left in the second quarter and the score tied at 7, play was suspended and Heil, wearing number 24, took the field at running back.

Heil got the handoff and raced down the field untouched for a 40-yard touchdown, his teammates forming a caravan as they followed him into the end zone. Robby’s mother, Debbie, watched on the sideline as he scored his emotional touchdown. The moment was especially touching because Debbie is battling terminal bone cancer. She watched through tears as Robby celebrated with his fellow Wildcats and the crowd chanted his name.

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

Robby sat down with WXYZ over the weekend with Wildcats coach Jeff Burnside to talk about his emotional touchdown. Heil’s teammates were clearly supportive of the movie, and recognized his influence on the team over the last four years.

Novi beat South Lyon East, 42-14. Sports are good sometimes.

(via WXYZ Detroit)