Young boy tackles adversity with a smile

Posted at 9:51 PM, Nov 16, 2017

Imagine having to tell a child that they have to stop playing their favorite sport. A family in Depew had to just that, but their son, Kayden Cummings, is tackling the challenge, while making lifelong memories.

The 11-year-old practices playing football at Stiglmeier Park in Cheektowaga. It’s his first, and last, year playing for the Airlines Junior Football Panthers, coached by his uncle.

"He started getting headaches probably since he was about three," said Jacquelyn Near, his mother.

"I'm just going to hope for the best. I'm approaching it the best I can," said Cummings.

Earlier this year, doctors diagnosed him with Chiari malformation, which is a structure defect in the cerebellum.

"He was told no more contact sports ever because even a small injury could be fatal or paralyze him,” said his mother.

Just like that, Cummings gave up football, but not before suiting up one last time, and what happened is a moment he will never forget.

“I just sprinted as fast as I could,” he said. “When I got into the end zone, everyone was high-fiving me because it was like, my last and only play I had left. And even the other team was doing that, some players.”

When asked what Cummings will remember most about his time playing football, he says the touchdown and his teammates.

Although he’s done playing, Cummings still goes to practice.

"To me it feels like I'm still doing something and I'm still in the game," he said.