(Topeka, KS)--It takes a special person to want to play football in middle school because of the dedication and the effort involved. But Charlie Wilks, of Emporia Middle School, isn't just special because of his work ethic. He stands out because he is blind.
He lost his sight before entering first grade. His doctors discovered a brain tumor, and had to operate. If they had not, he may have died.
The tumor crushed his optical nerve, causing blindness.
Charlie's grandfather played in the NFL. Many may think Charlie would be crushed his dream of playing football. But they don't know Charlie. His inner strength, and belief in himself pushed him to go out for the team -- and make it.
"Run straight ahead, hit, and run away," Charlie says. That is his football philosophy. He succeeds by listening to the action -- and with some verbal help from his teammates.
Charlie doesn't try to be an inspiration, but does want to show people that his disability is not a crutch.
Click the video to hear Charlie's story, straight from his mouth.