Flag football gives child living with a disability a new direction

Flag football gives child living with a disability a new direction

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday for flag football. The champion: the Gautier Gator Blue.

But, the team's success this year can't be measured by just a trophy. On this team, everyone gets a chance to play - including 7-year-old Max Brooks.

"He fell in love with football when he was a little kid," said his mother Tabatha Murray. "I never thought it would be a chance for him to play with his conditions."

Max has Leigh syndrome, a rare neurological condition. He's suffered 13 strokes, leaving his left side partially paralyzed.

"With all the doctors and stuff he's been through, everything he's been through, he was starting to give up a little bit," she said.

But, she says the experience - and how Max has been accepted by the Jackson County Youth Football Association - has changed him.

"He runs faster, he's confident, he's happy all the time," Murray said. "And, he's back just ready to fight every day."

Coach Jeffery Chapman is among those Murray credits with redirecting her son's life.

"Max has made a wonderful change," Chapman said. "You know, like most improved player, because he gives it his all every time he's on the field. And that means a lot to me, to see that I can bring that out in a kid."

It's the goal of the league to be inclusive.

"We want to make sure that anybody knows if you have a child with any kind of disability to please feel free to register your child in our sporting activities in our communities," said Gautier City Councilman Casey Vaughan. "We want every child to participate."

It's made Murray a believer in what organized sports can do.

"It makes me fall in love with this community, honestly," she said.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All Rights Reserved.