Arizona high school football team honors critically ill player despite reluctance from school officials
Gilbert High School junior varsity quarterback Cody Middleton was diagnosed with mononucleosis about two weeks ago after his mother took him to the hospital only to find his condition was so bad he slipped into a coma.
So players and parents on the team were understandably shocked when they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to wear Middleton’s number on their helmets, according to 3TV in Arizona.
It was Sandra Lescoe‘s son, a player on the varsity team, who first came up with the idea to honor his teammate by wearing his number. But when several players approached their school about wearing Middleton’s number on their helmets during their last home game Friday, they were told no.
”It has been a tradition that a player’s number should only be worn on the team’s helmets when the football player dies,” said Gilbert Public Schools district spokesperson Dianne Bowers in a statement to 3TV.
She suggested the team wear Cody’s number on wristbands instead, but friends and teammates took it a step further and made t-shirts that read, “Stay calm and pray for Cody.” They were made in green and yellow for Middleton’s favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers.
Someone snuck onto the football field Thursday night and painted a large No. 12 on the field for Middleton, whose family surely felt his team’s support despite the school’s reluctance to allow the team to wear Middleton’s number on their helmets.