BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — He’s a true football champion, even though he’s never actually played a down.
Ian Genge, a 17-year-old senior at Blue Springs South High School, runs camera for the Jaguar football program, recording every game and practice for his classmates.
His focus seems to know no limits. All his life, Genge dreamed of playing football for his soon-to-be alma mater.
Genge was born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a form of brain damage due to a loss of oxygen during birth. His mother, Becky Genge, says she was in a serious car crash five days before Ian was born. Becky says doctors lost Ian’s heartbeat for nearly seven minutes during delivery.
When Ian asked how he could get involved in football just as his senior year was beginning, the Jags football staff plugged Ian into the team’s camera system. He says it was a match made in halfback heaven.
“So, through the whole summer, I filmed the football team at their practices, and it spilled over practices during the school year into the games,” Genge told FOX 4 News.
“I did want to play ball, but some restrictions were put in place, so this was the next best thing to being on the field,” he said.
Ian Genge has spent his whole life beating people’s expectations. Becky Genge says doctors warned her that his growth may be affected, and he may stumble in life due to his limitations.
Instead, Ian carries a 3.8 GPA and plans to study biochemistry in college. He’s earned a black belt in karate, and he’s currently learning guitar, his third musical instrument.
“As a parent, you worry about whether your child is going to be accepted. Will they have friends? Will they be accepted in high school?” Becky Genge said Thursday. “He amazes us every day.”
And now, he’s become a valued part of Jaguar football — a team that, as of Friday afternoon, was battling for a spot in the Missouri Class 6 Semifinals against its rivals from Blue Springs High School.
“(Ian) cares a lot about the kids out there on the field,” Jaguars Head Coach Jon Oyler said. “They feel that and they know that, and they care about him because of the pride he takes in doing the film work.”
“I will stick with them through thick and thin for as long as this season goes on, and nothing’s going to drive me away,” Ian Genge said.