Football is a wonderful and brutal sport. It requires the focus, determination, and perseverance that most of us can only dream of possessing. It's a game that wears down the body, with crushing hits, explosive speed, and superhuman reflexes. It's played with more than just the arms and legs though, it's also played with the heart.
This year, the New England Patriots will add another chapter to their legacy when they face the Los Angeles Rams. No team, even the Patriots who have been to the Super Bowl time and time again, has an easy road to the championship game.
You require genius-level coaching, which both teams have in spades, top-level athletic talent, but you also need a reason to play that goes beyond glory or money.
The Rams might have the edge in that regard and his name is Hudson Leadley.
Hudson was fighting for his life even before he was born.
"They told us when I was eight months pregnant that his brain was filled with fluid," Hudson's mother Melissa told ABC news. "They really didn't think he'd make it to birth."
While he was in the womb, an amniotic band wrapped around Hudson's head and ruptured his left eye, causing the fluid build up.
Doctors warned Melissa after he was born that Hudson might never talk, walk or even breathe on his own.
Hudson had other ideas.
At four-years-old, with guts that not even the best football players possess, Hudson has battled to live his best life possible.
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Hudson is ready for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints!! . Sorry cousin's in Louisiana!! ðŸ˜‰ He will be cheering for the @rams, #seanmcvay and @jaredgoff !!! . Los Angeles we got this!!!!ðŸ’™âï¸ðŸˆðŸ’™âï¸ðŸˆ . #whoshouse #ramshouse !! #beatthesaints !! #losangelesrams #cerebralpalsywarrior #hydrocephaluswarrior #LAvsNO #NFLplayoffs . . #abc7rams #abc7eyewitness #abc7 #diehardramsfans
"He recently did 45 steps, which is the longest he ever walked," his proud mother beamed.
Like any other young boy, Hudson has favorite toys, games, and sports teams. He's a huge fan of the LA Rams.
After a particularly difficult prosthetic eye fitting, Melissa posted on Hudson's Instagram page, Hudson's Hope. It was noticed by Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who two days before his NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints, personally reached out to offer Hudson some support.
"Let's just say he was good luck," Melissa said of her son.
The Rams won 26-23 in overtime.
After the game Goff sent Hudson another message: Thank you.
Hudson continues to work hard to get better and his family is grateful for every happy moment. His story is one of strength and hope and he was asked what he hopes for.
"That the Rams win!"
You can donate to Hudon's GoFundMe here.