INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 4, 2016) - As Peyton Manning ponders ending his career after Super Bowl Sunday, a Center Grove High School Freshman reflects on the influence Manning had on him and how a visit with the pro quarterback in the hospital impacted his young life.
Ethan Carlton will be cheering extra loud for Manning in this weekend’s Super Bowl.
Carlton, 15, was diagnosed with failure to thrive when he was born. Doctors at St. Vincent were not even sure if he would live.
While in the hospital, Ethan had a very special visitor that changed his life.
Manning visited him and even took a picture with him. Ethan recovered from his infant condition and is now a successful football player in his own right.
His grandmother, Bessie Ooten, got him started in football when he was 5 years old.
He was even on the youth national championship team that won three titles in a row.
He’s now playing as a freshman for Center Grove and hope to one day play in the NFL, just like Manning.
“I wanna follow in (Manning's) footsteps. I wanna follow how he takes care of little kids that are sick. I still wanna be a success on the field too. I just admire how he’s lived his life,” said Carlton.
Carlton hopes to play Divison-1 college football and in the NFL, but if he doesn’t make it, he want to earn an MBA and a law degree and use his education to help others.
His grandmother thanks Manning for everything he's done for children in central Indiana and for being a positive influence on her grandson's life.