SWEET HOME, Ore -- David Lewelling is a member of the Sweet Home football team, but he's never caught a pass or made a tackle.
This high school junior is teaching the Huskies that there's a lot more to being on a team than just making plays.
Perspective is Everything
For the most remarkable member of the Sweet Home football team, perspective is everything.
David doesn't stand as tall as others on the field, he's missing an arm and some fingers, and he has an immune disorder so rare, the disease is named after him.
But instead of living inside a bubble, he bursts with joy on the football field.
"Football, I just always wanted to become a football player," says Lewelling. "Just having this disease makes me think that I can't do things, and I don't think that I would be able to do football very well."
But David's perspective on football was about to change.
David's Immune Disorder
When David was just eight months old, he caught Meningococcal Meningococcemia, a bacterial infection.
Doctors later found out David had an extremely rare immune disorder.
The Meningitis is gone, but the immune disorder still lives in David's body.
"It's a challenge, but you learn to go with the flow," says David's father Todd Lewelling. "We've done that now for 15 years, and we're still doing it."
Going with the flow means a lot of trips to the doctor and a lot of missed school.
David's bones don't grow properly, so he's required to have surgery every year to break and straighten his bones. Also David has a team of specialists in Portland, so when he was in third grade, his parents moved the family from Yachats to Sweet Home to be closer to the I-5 corridor.
"He's just always wanted to be accepted for what he is, rather than what he looks like," says David's mother Donna Lewelling. "A lot of people just look at him and make a lot of assumptions about what he can and can't do."
Under the category of "can't do" was football.
A Dream Come True
"David came to me a couple of weeks ago and asked me about being part of the team," said Sweet Home head coach Dustin Nichol. "I didn't really realize until then that this was something he really wanted to do for a long time."
Nichol named David the Huskies 12th man against Elmira on October 5th.
David was the perfect pick for honorary captain.
"I remember when Mr. Nichol called and asked about David being able to do this," says Donna "I started to cry,"
After years of medical nightmares, it was a dream come true for David.
"Just being a part of something," says David about what he enjoyed the most. "I've never been a part of anything."
"It was very emotional, let's just put it that way. There were hugs and high fives, actually high threes were going all around," joked Nichol.
David also gave a pregame speech in the locker room, where he thanked the team for the opportunity.
"I knew some of his troubles that he went through, but when he talked in the locker room it really opened my eyes to how good I have it," describes offensive lineman Zach Gill.
"Even though they have some hard days, they can look at me, and their hard days are sometimes one of my good days," says David.
Perspective is everything.