Boy With Brain Tumor Is NFL Play Caller

Whether you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan or not, this is a story that you’ll be able to appreciate. 

In week 15, Baltimore’s first play was an incomplete pass, a pretty normal play call with a pretty normal result.  What wasn’t normal was who called it. 

Cam Cameron, the Ravens’ offensive coordinator, heard about one of his son’s 14 year old classmates who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor.  His name is Matthew Cassidy.  After hearing about Matthew from his son, Cameron immediately went to visit with him, toting along a Joe Flacco signed football and Ravens hat.  Before leaving, Cameron turned around and asked Matthew what the first play of the game should be the following Sunday.  Stunned by the gesture, Matthew suggested a play-action pass to Todd Heap.

Sure enough, the Ravens’ first play of the game was just that, only the pass ended up incomplete.  Later in that game, though, Cameron noticed the “Matthew Cassidy” written next to that play and called it again.  Matthew’s play got Todd Heap into the end zone and the Ravens ended up easily winning against the Bears.

Three weeks later, Cameron called on Matthew to help them again as the Ravens were facing the Patriots in their first playoff game.  He suggested a run this time, with Ray Rice as the intended foot power.  As anyone who was watching or listening to that game can attest to, Matthew’s choice was worth its weight in gold.  For the first offensive play of the game, Rice exploded up the middle through a nice hole created by the offensive line and then ran 83 yards like his shoes were on fire and the end zone was a swimming pool.  That first touchdown set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Ravens soundly beat the Patriots 33 to 14 to go on to the next round of the playoffs.  Cameron couldn’t have been happier.

Not just the phenom NFL play caller, Matthew is an incredible kid.  He said, “When I get better, I wanna do what Coach Cam did for me. I wanna make some kid feel the way Coach made me feel.”  He’s an athlete at heart who unfortunately can’t really run around anymore due to his chemo therapy treatments and very low white blood cell count.  But he keeps his spirits high by routinely listening to comedy albums on his MP3 player, laughing all the way through his fight to live.  Soon, Matthew will find out if the chemo therapy has been working and if the tumor has shrunk enough that he can begin radiation treatment.

At the time of the article, Cameron was asking Matthew what his call would be for their next game against the Colts.  Unsure, and not wanting to make an unwise choice, Matthew told the coach that he’d get back to him.

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