A five-year-old boy from Georgia was told by doctors that he would never be able to play football because of a very rare brain disorder.
Ben Holloway was diagnosed with brain dural arteriovenous fistual (BDAF) last year.
“Last spring, my wife was telling me that Ben’s eye looked like it was bulging, and though I didn’t think much of it, she was very persistent,” his dad, Joshua Holloway, told ABCNews. “We brought him to a pediatrician after a few days, and he knew something was wrong.”
The doctors immediately rushed Ben to the ER where a CT scan confirmed the BDAF diagnosis. BDAF is a condition where there is an abnormal connection between blood vessels inside and outside the the brain’s fibrous covering, or dura.
“You can have side effects and devastating problems such as bleeding in the brain, which can lead to stroke, and other problems such as swelling in eyes that can cause vision loss,” Dr. Nicholas Bambakidis said. “In children, these fistulas seem to form spontaneously, whereas adults usually acquire them from trauma such as gunshot wounds.”
Ben had to undergo surgeries to deal with the problems associated with BDAF including an abnormal tangle of blood vessels that brought excess blood the size of a golf ball into his head. Doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of a stroke and even 20 percent chance of dying during surgery.
A week before a third surgery, the players and coaches of Murray County High School heard about Ben, his love of football and how doctors said he could never play the game.
And they decided to prove the doctors wrong.
Ben was invited to a scrimmage game where he was surprised with his own uniform and equipment including shoulder pads and a helmet. He was told to suit up and be ready when his number was called.
In the first half of the game, the offense called on Ben to be the running back in a “shotgun draw.” The quarterback took the snap and handed it to Ben who then ran it in for a touchdown with the entire team cheering him on.
Video of the event has gone viral.
“He was like a kid at Christmas time,” Joshua Holloway said. “It was like Christmas morning for him — it really was.”
“We still watch the video every night,” he added.
Ben had a third surgery the following week that was so successful he may not have to undergo a fourth surgery.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family’s unexpected medical costs.