Ike Ditzenberger, Teen with Down Syndrome, Scores Football Touchdown!

By Kathryn Hawkins. Posted on September 28 2010

On Friday, the Snohomish, Washington football team were on the losing end of a game against opponents Lake Stevens, behind 35 to nothing. So the Snohomish coach decided to try a different tactic: the “Ike special.”

Ike Ditzenberger, a 17-year-old player with Down syndrome, was called out to the field. He would be given the chance to score a 51-yard touchdown—and, even though it would keep Lake Stevens from scoring a 35-0 defeat, the opposing football players were happy to give the teen a chance to score on the field. As he ran, they chased behind him, some falling to the ground. For Ike, the moment was pure magic.

Though Ike may not be the best player on the football team, he has a true passion for the sport, and is ecstatic when he has the opportunity to play. His coach, Mark Perry, tries to give Ike a chance to play for at least a few minutes in every game. “I make him a deal. ‘If you keep your shoulder pads on and your mouthpiece in, you’re going to get a play,’” he told the Everett Herald.

And while Ike couldn’t quite save the game for his team in this case, the joy on his face more than made up for the loss.

Watch the wonderful video of the “Ike special.”


“True happiness…is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Helen Keller

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