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Students and young adults with special needs take to the field for Game Day Experience

Staying active is important, no matter your age or experience. That's one of the reasons football players at Lafayette Jeff gathered Thursday night to create a unique experience for special needs students.

Posted: Jul 27, 2018 12:24 AM
Updated: Jul 27, 2018 9:27 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Staying active is important, no matter your age or experience. That's one of the reasons football players at Lafayette Jeff gathered Thursday night to create a unique experience for special needs students.

It's called "Game Day Experience," and it's open to special needs students in the Lafayette School Corporation at no cost.

Elijah Crider was one of 40 kids who took part this year. He says it's all about food, friends and fun.

"I'm friends with everyone. Its super easy to make friends," Eli said.

And that's just what he did, through football drills, face painting, and of course, water breaks. Elijah had no trouble taking over at the hose.

"Playing, spraying the hose. Also, people call me the water demon," he explains.

Eli's father says he has a big heart, and a day like this brings it out.

"He goes out of his way to help other kids if he finds them struggling. He always takes time to help them explain to them what to do. He just has a good heart. A good heart of nature," said Darrell Crider.

And Eli feels the same about his father. "The reason why my dad is my hero because he helps me and I love him. I love him so much."

Not only did Game Day Experience give Eli a chance to meet new people and exercise, it was a memory he and his dad could share as well.

"But he likes playing the football. He likes tackling the dummies and stuff out there. He just likes to be around other people and socialize."

And at the end of the day, Eli had a message for anyone watching: 

"To all you people at home, football is the greatest sport ever!"

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