HARTSELLE — Because he has cerebral palsy, Logan Dotson knows that he’ll never play football.
But he’s a gridiron junkie and has some ambitious goals and dreams with the sport that are mostly centered on Auburn University.
One of those goals came true a week ago when his English teacher, Emily Reeves, helped Dotson get an autographed football from Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix.
“I didn’t expect this dream to come true,” Dotson said as he clutched the football in an office at Hartselle High on Thursday. “I was like ‘wow’ when I saw it.”
Along with the football, Dotson got a voice message from Nix which said: “I’m proud of you. War Eagle.”
Reeves, a first-year teacher at Hartselle, set events in motion that led to Dotson getting the football and voice message from Nix. She overheard him talking to other students about his desire to get Nix’s autograph, and she told Dotson she would make it happen.
Reeves said her sister, Taylor Hall, is a student at Auburn, so she reached out to her. Hall, a sophomore who is studying accounting, went through one of her sorority sisters to get the football to Nix.
In a social media post after presenting Dotson with the football in front of his classmates, Reeves wrote: “I have the kindest, hardest working, literal walking miracle of a student named Logan. He’s defying the odds, and God has a huge plan for his life.”
Dotson, 14, said he has mild cerebral palsy, and has never been able to play football.
CP is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture and is the most common motor disability among children, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Dotson said his hands shake because of the disease and he sometimes needs help getting out of bed. But Reeves said he’s “my hero” because he never makes excuses for missing class or class assignments.
“He’s very hardworking, smart and very respectful,” she said.
Although he’s not been able to play football, Dotson said he’s blessed, because so many other children he has met with CP are wheelchair bound.
“God blessed me,” he said about the CP he has. “No excuses. I’m blessed.”
Like so many others in Alabama, he said he grew up in a divided family with his father Shane being an Auburn fan and his mother Tammy an Alabama fan. He said he became an Auburn fan because he watches football games with his father and “I’m working to convert my mother to the Auburn side.”
Dotson has attended two Auburn games in his life, but never an Iron Bowl, which is on his wish list. He also wants an autograph from Bo Jackson, a former football and baseball player at Auburn who won the Heisman Trophy in 1985.
“That’s my favorite player,” he said about Jackson.
Nix, however, is his favorite player on the current team “because I like his story about being born to play quarterback.”
Dotson said he also likes how Nix looks comfortable and under control on the field.
“You can tell he’s having fun,” he said.
Dotson said his disease has taught him that winning and losing is not the most important thing in life.
“Have fun,” he said. “You got to have fun no matter your situation.”