ABILENE, Texas - Abilene High Eagle team members paired up with special needs children for the annual Champions Football Game Friday.
Abilene High head coach Steve Warren started the yearly game for that reason. Because as the kids took the field, one by one, they didn't feel like they had special needs, they just felt special.
"I've always had a passion for special needs kids and i love them and you know i just thought what a neat deal for those kids to be able to get out here on the turf and for about 45 minutes be just like the players," said Warren.
It's a once a year opportunity for football players to help brighten up some of the kid's day with the sport they both love.
"I felt important I felt really good that I go out here and play with these guys," said Joshua Hunter, Abilene High football player.
"I think it's about the smiles I really do when you see these kids the emotion that they show when they see their name up there on that video screen and they get to touch that football and take off running you know there's nothing like that," said Warren.
With each touchdown their smiles grew a little bigger and their parents cheered a little louder.
For many of the kids the next game can't come soon enough.
"They'll be talking about it to Coach Warren months before it happens. ‘When's the game?' So it's very important for them," said Hunter.
The Champions game doesn't just help the kids on the field. All the proceeds from the event go to the Children's Miracle Network. That provides equipment and funds for Hendrick Children's Hospital.
Over the last seven years the Champions games has raised more than $60,000 for Children's Miracle Network.