Evansville Thunderbolts sign 7-year-old fan

Published: Mar. 15, 2019 at 7:13 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Hockey is definitely not a one-man show. It’s a team effort, and it takes a lot of practice.

Braxton Wiley of Evansville is only seven, but he’s endured more brain surgeries than the years he’s lived.

“He’s had surgery eight times,” Denise Wiley, Braxton’s mother, said. “We’ve been taking him to Thunderbolts games for years, he loves it."

On Friday, the team held a news conference for Braxton to officially sign a contract with the squad. He then went on to the locker room to suit up in full gear for the team’s official photo.

It was the first time on the ice for Braxton. With a little help from the players, he held up quite well.

“To see him this happy is like, the best thing in the world,” Denise said. “When he’s around these guys, I mean, he just non-stop talks. It’s just awesome. He loves them, and calls them “my team!"

“You’d never know it, but he’s dealing with pain right now," she explained. "His pain level is usually like a five or six. That’s normal for him, he’s used to it.”

Just like the hard work players put in on the ice, Braxton and his family have put in the work to keep him alive.

“He was diagnosed when he was two and a half, and he’s seven now," Denise said. “As the years have gone on, he’s just blossomed. He has Arnold-Chiari malformation, hydrocephalus, syringomyelia, cerebral palsy along with multiple other conditions that are minor.

“He smiles through it all. He gives 100% every time he does something," Denise smiled.

Braxton is set to drop the puck at Friday’s Thunderbolts game before they take on the Rail Yard Dawgs of Roanoke, Virginia.

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