Al's Senior Day Dream

By: John Mulvaney Email
By: John Mulvaney Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Senior day on a college football Saturday is a chance for fans to say a final farewell to their favorite players. This year one Marshall senior was making his first appearance and it was anything but typical.

Al Felix was born with cereberal palsy, which affects his speech and restricts his movement. But the strong-willed Felix has never let the obstacle prevent him from doing anything, except the one thing he never had a chance to -- play football.

"I love football and so why can't I be part of a team despite what I can't do or whatever," Felix said. "I just want to be around the sport I love."

Felix worked his way onto the Marshall football training staff. But his role in the background did not escape the attention of Marshall Head Coach Doc Holliday, who decided to make Al's dream come true. Holliday told Felix he could suit up on senior day and run out of the tunnel just like every other senior on the team.

"It was great to see Al out there. If we can give Al three minutes out there like that, why not," Vinny Curry, a senior defensive captain said. "Al and I came in together. That makes you feel good."

For Felix, the trainer who says he bleeds Marshall green, it was more than just a special moment, it was a life changing event. He strode out of the tunnel wearing a full uniform from cleats to shoulder pads, donning his lucky No. 24 as the Edwards Stadium crowd showered him with a standing ovation.

"It was great. It was surreal. It was the best day of my life," Felix said as he fought back emotion.

The day began with Al running out of the tunnel for his first introduction and ended when Marshall's full-time players carried him from the field on their shoulders.

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