Wheelchair athlete is team’s placekick holder

A small town in northern Minnesota with a strong high school football tradition has an inspirational placekick holder: a young man who has been paralyzed from the waist down from birth and uses a wheelchair for transportation off the field.

Dan Lilya is the Moose Lake, Minnesota Rebels’ holder for extra points and field goals. He likes to describe himself as a normal kid with “wheels for legs.”

The Rebels of Moose Lake, Minnesota have won 11 section titles in 17 years and gone to state for 10 years in a row, according to WCCO TV.

“Nobody really thinks that you can play football while disabled,” Danny told the TV station. “But here we are now.”

When a teammate suggested he try out for the placeholder position, Danny thought, why not? I can do that and talked to coach Dave Lauzek about it. Lauck said the team tries to include everyone, even kids other teams might consider non-athletes, and create a family atmosphere.

His mother Sheryl said the other boys on the team welcomed him with open arms, and his father Dan said Danny is every bit a part of that program as the able-bodied athletes.

“A wheelchair doesn’t define you,” Danny said. “If you want to do something but you’re disabled if you have the right mindset you can still go out there and do it.”

Using a motorized wheelchair makes many seemingly difficult things a possibility for people with disabilities. The best motorized wheelchair for many situations is one that can collapse for storage in a car trunk and go, such as the IntelliChair, a foldable wheelchair with a powerful electric motor.  It is lightweight, portable and available in both a base model and a larger version.

The wheelchair is equipped with top-quality rubber wheels that can’t go flat. Its nimble steering mechanism makes it easy to control, and its sturdy, stainless steel frame can stand up to the rigors of daily use. The overnight charging means the wheelchair is ready to go for the entire day.