12-year-old Cincinnati Children's patient inspired by Burrow's comeback story gets Super Bowl tickets

Jim Irsay gifts Bengals fan Super Bowl tickets
Posted at 12:28 AM, Feb 11, 2022

CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati Children's Hospital patient is packing his bags and heading to LA thanks to Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Bengals fan Colton Roenker said he's really excited to watch his favorite team take on the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. The 12-year-old is one of several people to get free tickets and an all-expenses-paid trip to the big game from Irsay.

"(It's) something you dream about, talk about, but don't ever think will actually happen," said his mother, Kendra. "We're excited. We're excited and ready to head out."

Like NFL Comeback Player of the Year Joe Burrow, Roenker has overcome his fair share of adversities. He's had more than 220 visits to the children's hospital.

"He's been a lifelong patient," Kendra Roenker said. "He's been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and also spastic paraplegia, so he goes through a lot of PT primarily, especially. (He) had leg surgery about a year and a half ago, and that was a pretty significant surgery."

Roenker can now walk for 15 minutes with help from leg braces and a walker. While his life has not been easy, he remains positive and keeps pushing through — just like his favorite players.

"I would say the Bengals are an inspiration to me," Roenker said.

Roenker's mother said Burrow in specific has helped her son as his injury in the 2020 season came at a similar time as Roenker's leg surgery.

"He's a sports-minded kid," Kendra Roenker said. "It was kind of helpful in the fact of, you know, like we're sure Joe Burrow is working hard to rehab and get back in the game, so we need to make sure that you're working hard. And he does, he works hard all the time."

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