As 13-year old Christopher Naegeli watched the Steelers morning practice at training camp, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger came behind him, then knelt down beside him and started talking football.
The teenager who a few minutes earlier was joking with his mom and sister, got quiet and shy, meeting his hero for the first time.
But after a few minutes Naegeli, who has spina bifida and came to camp through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, warmed up not just to Roethlisberger but also to Coach Mike Tomlin, LaMarr Woodley, Ryan Clark, Brett Keisel, Dick LeBeau, Larry Foote and the rest of the players who came over to meet him, sign his football and joke around.
“It means a lot,” said his mother, Barbara Naegeli. “This is something he normally wouldn’t ever get to do. He likes watching football, but because of his wheelchair he will never be able to play. It’s great for him to get up close with the players.”
And it was easy to see the players, including Roethlisberger whose foundation helps the Make-A-Wish Foundation, loved it as well.
“I think it’s awesome the players like to do it and love spending time with the kids,” said Naegeli.
Posted in Training Camp | 13 Comments »