Elkhart, Indiana – Football in Elkhart is taken very seriously. When the local football team won its first game of the season, one player was seen on the sidelines crying tears of excitement and joy. That player was Dustin Ellsworth.
Dustin is not your average football player. He isn’t in the starting line and doesn’t get much time on the field but Dustin is certainly special and is a valued member of the team.the team.
Dustin has high-functioning autism and doesn’t acknowledge his limitations. His emotions are pure and often his excitement is taken to levels that aren’t always understood by others.
Traci Borem-Walker, Dustin’s mom, explains that everything is big to him:
“He has so much enthusiasm that he doesn’t realize when other kids may be frustrated. He gets so hyper. He tries to get everybody hyped up, but sometimes they’re like, ‘Hey, we’re not having a good game. You have to settle down.’”
Dustin’s parents had no clue he would turn out to be so extraordinary. He was diagnosed with Autism at age 2 and they were told he would probably have difficulties talking and waling. Doctors also told his parents to not expect him to graduate high school. Apparently, Dustin had different plans.
Dustin is viewed as one of the team’s best leaders. The Crimson Chargers view him as one of their own and as an inspiration.
“Honestly, he’s the heart of the team. He gives more heart than anybody I’ve ever met,” said senior Drew Branson, “He’ll go out and do whatever the coaches want him to do. It’s really cool. He’s got his special things, but he gets that we’re football players and he wants to be like the rest of us and play like we play.”
Dustin Ellsworth isn’t what others would consider the star athlete, but he has his heart in the game. He works hard and is always enthusiastic. Setting the bar high, always an inspiration, Dustin Ellsworth is still certainly a star.
The original article by Bill Beck on The Elkhart Truth website can be read here