Senior, JV Football Player with Autism: Guaranteed Touchdown a Guaranteed Disaster?

By Nicole Hegewald

I recently read an article that confused me. The story revolved around Illinois resident Winfred Cooper, a high school senior with autism. Cooper attends Elgin High School and recent scored his first and only touch down during a Junior Varsity game against Lake Park High School.

Michigan foot ball stadium by cheri0627

Cooper wishes to attend the Univ. of Michigan

“Cooper wove past a few Lake Park defenders, avoided a well-choreographed tackle attempt by Lake Park’s Mike Schenone, and went 67 yards into the end zone to tie the game 6-6.”

The coaches were hesitant to publicize the false touchdown, but in their opinion they saw it as a “teaching opportunity for the players”. At the end of this article, the young man was still unaware that his touchdown was guaranteed.

“Cooper tells everyone he’s going to the University of Michigan on a football scholarship now (he’s not, but he is applying to the school), and he told his dad he’s ready for an athletic shoe endorsement deal… His dad said he’s slept with it [the game ball] in his arms every night. He’s also re-watched the highlight tape from that game dozens of times.”

However, let me pose a question. What if this young man finds out it was all a fake? What if some malicious teenager sends him a copy of that news article with the incriminating details highlighted? Lake Park head coach Andy Livingston said, “There was a greater victory that morning.” But was there?

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One Comment

  1. winfried cooper Sr
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    First I want to thank you for your support of my son, I Understood how this could be an issue when it came out, so before the article came out I sat down and explained to him, but to him its was the since of accomplishment for catching and running with the ball and the excitement and thrill of the moment and the support of the fans.

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