Captain Jaxon: Barons honor young fan

By on October 11, 2017

Jaxon Brubaker served as an honorary game captain for the Manheim Central Barons on Oct. 6. (Photos by Alan Johnson)

Young Manheim Central Barons fan Jaxon Brubaker was able to serve as a game captain on Friday, Oct. 6, during Central’s game against the Elizabethtown Bears.

The eight-year-old, a second grader at Doe Run Elementary School, has been through a lot in his life. He’s suffered with health issues since birth, according to his mother, Nicole Brubaker.

Jaxon was born prematurely and diagnosed with “failure to thrive.” As a toddler, he had a feeding tube for several years. He is also diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism known as Saul Wilson Syndrome.

Over the summer, a mishap occurred during kidney surgery and Jaxon wound up spending 11 days in intensive care.

Through it all, Jaxon remained a devout Barons fan.

Thanks to his dad, Justin, Doe Run second grader Jaxon Brubaker was able to enjoy Friday night’s game from the sideline.

“His dad and I were just trying to think of things to cheer him up,” said Nicole Brubaker. “Shortly after Jaxon came home Coach Hahn and two players came to our house to visit him.”

“I was told Jaxon loves the Barons,” said Barons head coach Dave Hahn. “I contacted the dad and we set up a time that myself and our two captains, Jake Novak and Garret Fittery, could go visit him. We arrived with a 2017 autographed team football in hand for him and it was the start of a great friendship between the team and Jaxon (and his family). The night of the visit to his house we talked for a little before he quickly showed us all his scars and talked about the season with us.

Prior to Friday night’s game, Jaxon Brubaker, honorary game captain, took the field to shake hands with the captains from the Elizabethtown Bears.

Jaxon Brubaker (left) shakes hand with E-town Bears captain Zach McNitt pre-game.

“After leaving that evening, I received a text from Jaxon’s dad, Justin, stating ‘when you left Jaxon said I think that changed my life, and it was the best thing that ever happened to him.’”

After that visit, Jaxon formed a strong bond with Coach Hahn and the team.

“When I would go on walks with Jaxon and his brother, we would see the Barons practicing and he always wanted to stop and watch,” said Nicole Brubaker. “Coach Hahn would call him out on the field with him. The players really took to Jaxon.”

“He loves sports,” she said. “but most of them will be tough, if not impossible, for him to play.”

Unbeknownst to Jaxon and his parents, Coach Hahn was planning something special for Jaxon.

“We knew he would be joining us on the sideline for a game because his dad had bought the sideline pass from the MCFEE auction,” said Hahn. “We discussed it, and they decided on the E-town game. I requested that he come to last Thursday’s practice so we could make it special for him by giving him his own jersey and having him run a play with the team.”

“He scored a ‘touchdown’ and all the players and coaches cheered,” said Jaxon’s mom. “The players lifted him into the air. Jaxon’s face was priceless!”

“Friday night of the game, we made him a game captain as well. The E-town captains did a great job recognizing Jaxon, I was very impressed and let their coach know that as well,” added Hahn.

“Seeing him walk on the field with the Baron captains was incredible,” said Nicole Brubaker. “They are so good with him. They make sure he’s right there included in everything. Then when E-town’s captains shook Jaxon’s hand…very classy. Great sportsmanship. That’s Jaxon. He just draws people in. So many people love that kid. It’s indescribable how it made me feel. I could never put into words the love, gratitude, and respect we have for Coach Hahn, the Barons football team, and every other person involved that made this happen.”

Nicole was concerned that too much attention to the event, and to her son’s diagnosis, might have negative fallout.

“He has such a great attitude about life. He really has no idea that he’s different and I hope it stays that way,” she said. “Obviously we’ll talk about it, soon, since he’s getting older, but I hope it continues to not matter to him or anyone else. He’s just Jaxon — a super kid with an amazing personality and a huge heart.”

It’s hard to tell who benefits most from the relationship.

“Jaxon’s dad has thanked me a number of times, but the true thanks goes to him for allowing us into their home and getting to know their family,” Hahn said. “They are special people. This experience with Jaxon and the Brubakers has taught our kids acceptance, kindness, giving back, and how to pay it forward.”

Melissa Hunnefield is a staff writer at the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your questions and comments at 721-4452 or mhunnefield.eph@lnpnews.com.

(Photos by Mark Palczewski, from Facebook)

As an honorary game captian, young Jaxon Brubaker was able to hang out on the sidelines and locker room with the rest of the team, and pose with the mascot and cheerleaders.

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