HARRINGTON, Del. (CBS) – Ryan Roper has been defying odds all of his life. The Delaware native’s dreams of playing hockey have been stifled by a health condition, but after years of sitting on the sidelines, his dream of hitting the ice is now a reality.
“They didn’t think he’d walk,” Meghann Roper, Ryan’s mom, said. “And he did.”
Courage is a mindset and Ryan certainly has the makeup.
The 8-year-old has cerebral palsy and until now, he was forced to watch his sister’s hockey games and practices from behind the boards.
“I first met him, I didn’t know what was going on with Ryan,” Chad Everett, a hockey coach with the Delaware Stars youth hockey program, said, “and I asked his mom in casual conversation one day, ‘Hey why doesn’t he skate?’ and that’s when I learned everything.”
Enter Everett, who decided to take matters into his own hands.
“I felt terrible,” Everett said, “and I wanted to do something. I knew I could do it so I just wanted to help the kid.”
In one hour, Everett built Ryan his own harness.
“The bottom is made out of three-inch PVC that I split in half to make skies,” Everett said, “a piece of wood across the top with a high bolt to take the weight.”
“I had all these different visions in my mind about what it was going to look like or how it was going to go,” Meghann said, “but it exceeded every expectation.”
And Ryan, whose mother describes him as a daredevil, did not hesitate.
Ryan, muttering to himself, “beep, beep, beep,” skated and raced his way down the rink.
“I really, really go fast,” Ryan said.
A boy who loves the Washington Capitals now received the feeling of what it’s like to score a goal himself.
“When you really get to know Ryan it’s not that unbelievable,” Meghann said. “He just has this persistence about him.”