Kid Captain: Carson Thomas


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Nothing stops 14-year-old Carson Thomas from being an passionate Hawkeye fan like any other fan.

The Washington, Iowa, native started watching Hawkeye games roughly five years ago, and he continues to persistently catch up with the Iowa football program and the Marching Band.

Sharon Sprague, Carson’s aunt, said Herky the Hawk is a big deal for Carson as well.

This year, for the first time, he will be a part of the Hawkeye magic that he has come to love.

For the 2013 season, Carson was selected as the Kid Captain among 462 nominations, and he will serve during the Iowa/Northern Illinois game on Saturday.

“He’ll love to come out in the field,” Sprague said. “This is something I’ll never forget … for him, he’s just got to be out of his world.”

But Carson’s journey is one unlike that of many kids his age.

Kelly Thomas, Carson’s mother, said when she was 24 weeks into her pregnancy, she received a notice from her doctor that she had too much fluid in her body that would result in a cleft palate and clubfeet for her child.

On Aug. 10, 1999, Carson was born at the UI Children’s Hospital but with a rare distal disorder.

The disorder, known as Gordon Syndrome, is characterized by a combination of clubfeet, a cleft palate and additional abnormalities.

Today, he also is living with DiGeorge Syndrome, a condition that results in heart defects and a poorly functioning immune system, all of which affect his daily life.

Sprague said Carson’s while in the hospital for the first time, he faced one prominent challenge.

“The biggest issue was making sure he can breathe,” she recalled.

In facing numerous health issues, at the UIHC, Carson received close to 20 procedures from several doctors and specialists.

But eventually, his health improved.

“Somehow, wonderfully, he gradually got better and stronger … [he received] just wonderful care,” Sprague said.

Today, Carson is an outgoing person with a love for school.

Thomas said her son remains social despite the many barriers, noting that he is “pretty much as normal as he could be right now.”

Sue Kinsinger, one of Carson’s teachers at Washington Middle School, agreed.

“He’s a really hard worker and does his best in everything he can do,” she said. “He likes to sort things and be on the computer or iPad … and likes to say ‘Go Hawks.’ ”

An assembly in celebrating Carson’s announcement of being chosen as Kid Captain for the upcoming game is scheduled for today.

Shortly after 3 p.m., roughly 400 students, wearing black and gold, will create an “I” shape in reference to the Hawkeyes.

And although Thomas said complete details about the assembly remain unknown, Carson’s Kid Captain posters will hang at the event.

Sprague, Carson’s aunt, said that she knows that Carson’s parents appreciate the huge support given by the UI, hospital staff and the rest of the Kid Captain team.

“Hopefully, his story would give hope to other parents,” she said. “[The doctors] weren’t sure if he could walk, but there he is, 14-years-old, walking and doing extremely well. He’s an inspiration.”

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