NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS (KTRE) - At SFA, Head Coach Colby Carthel has made it clear the Lumberjacks are a family, not a team.
It is no surprise, then, that the team made sure to make 6-year-old Liam Hill a member of their family.
“He was 3 and real lethargic," said Liam’s mother Ashley Hill. “We went to four different doctors in two weeks and they said it was just a virus. My mother instincts told me otherwise. I went back and said, ‘I need solid answers and I am not leaving the hospital until I get them.’ ”
Liam was later diagnosed with leukemia.
“The reason nine doctors missed the diagnosis is because we noticed it about two weeks before onset which is rare,” Hill said.
Liam loves football and even tried out and made a youth team. The treatment has been rough and Liam is weak in his legs, so after one practice, the family realized playing football might be too much this fall.
His story made it to the Stephen F. Austin State University football team, and without hesitation, they stepped up and asked his family to join the team at a practice.
“They put life into perspective and you realize sometimes when we think ... life is not fair that it really doesn’t compare,” Coach Carthel said.
Liam watched as the players ran drills. In their downtime, players rotated and visited their biggest fan on the sideline.
“He is in pain around the clock, but he is not going to let anything stop him today,” Hill said.
After the practice Liam was asked to run the final play of the day with the team. He lined up as a tailback, and once he had the ball, his eyes were set on the end zone.
“I scored my first touchdown!” Liam shouted as the team picked him up.
“I am having more fun than he is because I get to watch someone give him something so special,” Hill said.
The team has invited the family to be their guests on Saturday at the home opener.
“We are so grateful to the community for the love they have for Liam," Hill said.