Child granted wish to play with the pros

Xzavier Cool, 8, of Fort Plain was surprised with his wish during the third inning of the Amsterdam Mohawks opening game on Thursday at the Roa Family Stadium at Shuttleworth Park. The Make-A-Wish foundation granted his wish to play football with the Carolina Panthers and catch a football from Quaterback Cam Newton. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

AMSTERDAM — Wishes do come true. At least they do for 8-year-old Xzavier Cool, of Fort Plain, who will get to be a Carolina Panther for a day.

Cool was surprised with his wish which was granted by the Make-A-Wish foundation during the third inning of the Amsterdam Mohawks’s opening game on Thursday at the Rao Family Stadium at Shuttleworth Park.

“I’m really excited,” Cool said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Make-A-Wish volunteer Ray Gawlak said Cool’s wish is to be a Carolina Panther for a day.

“His wish is to catch a touchdown pass from Cam Newton,” Gawlak said. “So, he wants to truly be a Panther. He wants the team experience, practice with the team, eat with the team, hangout with the team, be a Panther.”

Gawlak said Cool will be going to the Carolina Panthers practice on June 11. He will have lunch in the team lunch room and attend their afternoon practice and hang out with the team.

“Seeing him get to do something that means a lot to him — he’s a huge football fan — is really exciting,” said Cool’s mom, Meghan Brown. “The past year and a half he hasn’t really been able to do a lot of activity because of his injury. He’s a really active kid and now he can start getting back into some of the things he really enjoys and that’s really exciting to see. It makes us feel that we’re at that end of the road with all of this.”

She said Cool has been a Carolina Panther fan for about four years. Brown said Cool is very athletic and loves sports. Cool said his favorite sports are basketball and football. He said he likes the Carolina Panthers because he has family who lives there.

“He loves adventure and thinks that everyday is suppose to be exciting and he gets very depressed by the normal humdrum of everyday,” Brown said. “He’s just incredible. He’s resilient, even though he doesn’t believe it.”

In September 2017, Cool was in an accident when trying to cross the road and was hit in the head. Brown said he has a traumatic brain injury and has gone through seven surgeries.

“We take it one day at a time,” Brown said.

Cool said he was surprised that he is going to meet the team in June. Cool said he thought he wouldn’t be going until some time in August, so he was surprised to find out that he is going in June.

By Josh Bovee

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