Frisco student's winning spirit inspires SMU team

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on October 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Updated Saturday, Oct 22 at 5:27 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK — This is it: Kelan Lawson's big moment, an 11-year-old's dream turning to reality.

This little boy captured our attention last month. Doctors told Kelan's parents he would never walk or talk.

He has now now motivated thousands with his winning spirit, which took him all the way to the Hilltop with SMU's head football coach.

"You guys have this, don't ya?" Kelan asked as he led the Mustangs on the field last Saturday.

Getting that green, "all-access" SMU game day press pass started with our first story about Kelan and his motivational speech to hundreds of Frisco teachers.

"The doctor told my parents I would probably never walk, I'd be in a wheelchair, and never able to speak," he told them. "Well, I think we all know how that turned out."

Kelan has cerebral palsy, but his determination and humor is what people notice the most.

"It may shock you I don't have the quickest legs on campus, but I sure do have the quickest mouth," he told the Frisco teachers.

In an interview last month, Kelan shared his dream of coaching with June Jones of SMU. It was a dream we couldn't ignore.

"Let's rock with 'em! let's get 'em!" Kelan implored, leading the team out of the tunnel with the SMU "sway" last weekend.

It was the the start of a father-son day that these two will never forget.

SMU won that game against the University of Central Florida, and so did Kelan, living life without limits.

"The whole team has just been phenomenal, embracing him this whole week," said Ryan Lawson, Kelan's dad. "It really means a lot."

From team dinners to an overnight hotel stay and bus rides, Kelan was invited into the SMU football family from start to finish.

And while this was a moment in the spotlight for Kelan, even Coach Jones admits this little powerhouse taught his team, the most valuable of lessons.

"Never give up," Kelan said. "Always believe in yourself, even if no one else does. Go beyond the sky!"

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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