DEL MAR (CBSLA) — A brave teen who made a life-changing decision in the hopes of continuing doing what he loves — play football — met one of his heroes Friday who came bearing a gift.
Sixteen-year-old high school quarterback Alex Ruiz suffered a devastating leg injury during a football game last fall. When doctors told him he’d never regain full mobility in his foot, he decided get his leg amputated so that he could continue to stay active with a prosthetic.
Three months after the surgery, his prosthetic was delivered to him by none other than his hero Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.
Brees’ flag football league joined the Challenged Athletes Foundation Friday when he surprised Alex with the walking prosthetic.
“It’s beyond a dream come true,” said Alex Friday. “I never would have thought he would have known who I am at all. About a year ago, eight months ago, he was just someone I looked up to.”
Now, Brees is the one looking up to Alex.
“I remember I had a terrible knee injury in junior year of high school. That could have been me,” said Brees. “If all of us look at it like that, then I think we can all band together and be there for one another, help one another.”
Alex’s mother said she would never have wished for her son to suffer such an injury, but she was amazed by the opportunities the unfortunate circumstances have afforded Alex.
“It’s just opened a lot more doors for him,” said Shirley Ruiz.
Alex got to throw the pigskin around with 2010 Superbowl winner Friday, and it seems he’ll only be able to do much more with his walking prosthetic.
“It’s going to allow him to walk around, get around and then eventually get to the point where he’s able to play football again. because you ask him right now and you can see the look in his eye, that’s what he wants to do,” said Brees.