Sportress of Blogitude

Vikings host paralyzed teen football player, Adrian Peterson lends support


The Minnesota Vikings on Thursday hosted a teenage football player who suffered a traumatic injury as a result of an ATV accident, allowing him to break the final huddle of the team’s minicamp. During his visit, Adrian Peterson also offered him some motivational words of encouragement.

Josh Benson, 16, was a high school running back at a Minnesota high school but was paralyzed from the waist down in the ATV accident last summer. He was the recipient of the 2015 Courage Award by the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation last month and the Vikings invited him to attend minicamp. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman presented him with a custom team jersey before he watched practice and talked with the players.

The highlight of his day not surprisingly was an inspirational chat with Peterson.

“I just let him know that God has the final say in everything,” Peterson said, per the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. “I asked him, ‘What did they tell him when he left?’ They told him he wouldn’t be able to move anything below his waist and I see him over there moving his leg now.

“Just keeping his mind focused on God and having faith that he can walk again, and I just let him know, ‘Hey, it’s not going to be easy, there’s going to be tough days, but as long as you just stay focused and this is something you want to accomplish, you can accomplish that.'”

Benson said he enjoyed the entire experience Thursday, especially his chat with Peterson.

“It was pretty good,” Benson said. “It was fun. He just said, ‘Keep your head up, believe in yourself. If you believe your legs are going to work, it will come back.’ ”

Benson, a senior at Hinckley-Finlayson High School, said he continues to make strides in therapy, adding that he has begun to walk with the support of braces. The impact Peterson’s words had upon the young man obviously pale in comparison to the hard work Benson has and will continue to put in during his recovery, but to get encouragement from a superstar athlete probably meant a lot to him.

(image credit: Minnesota Vikings/Twitter)