OSAGE, Iowa – His enthusiasm is contagious.
“Ryan is the kind of guy that will come up to you – come up to me every Friday and tell us about how excited he is and how he plans to lose his voice at the game on Friday nights,” said Osage football head coach, Matt Finn.
Meet Ryan Hemann, a passionate Green Devils fan who suffers from Spinal Bifida.
“I think his story gives us great perspective to our athletes, too, and I think his great attitude reminder for us too of like, ‘hey, just enjoy the day, you know? Things could be worse,’” added Finn.
Four years ago, the Osage volleyball program took Ryan under its wing.
“The volleyball team – the first ‘Running with Ryan’ night was when he was a freshman and they’ve just become part of the family over the years” said his mother, Tami Hemann.
The team rallied together to help support ‘Running with Ryan,’ an effort started by his mailman.
“He approached us about raising money to buy one of these race chairs,” said Tami Hemann.
The money was raised in record time.
“They did three Kickoff to Kinnick 5Ks, They’ve done three Dam-to-Dam half-marathons, and they did the Marine Corps full-marathon in Washington, D.C.” added Tami.
But things got even better for Ryan when he was asked to be at the football game last Friday.
“They wanted me there early so I could be in the team meeting,” said Ryan Hemann.
He also got to be a part of the coin toss and his reaction was priceless.
“If he could have, he would have jumped out of his chair,” said Tami.
While the Green Devils were hard at work in their shutout win on Friday, Coach Finn says he hopes this serves as a constant reminder to his athletes.
“I think it’s a perspective thing for them and they get to hold Ryan’s hand on the way out there and think not everybody gets to do this tonight and they do,” said Finn.
The Osage football team chooses a honorary captain for each game during the season.
The Green Devils are 5-2 on the season and play at Lake Mills on Oct. 12 at 7 PM.