ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Though the Vikings are not playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday, one young Minnesota athlete is headed to the game, thanks to his favorite team.
Earlier this season, 16-year-old Danny Lilya was holding kicks for Vikings Kicker Kai Forbath, when the Vikings surprised him with tickets to the Super Bowl.
“When the last one went through, the scoreboard in the back switched to purple, but I didn’t really realize it at first,” Lilya said. “I thought it was the scoreboard doing its own thing. But the scoreboard said, ‘Congrats Danny you are going to the Super Bowl,’ and they came out and gave me the tickets. I was super shocked and I’m really excited for the game.”
Lilya is a life-long patient at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.
“I was born with a broken back… so I'm paralyzed from the waist down,” Lilya said.
Although he uses a wheelchair, Lilya is also a four-sport athlete in his hometown, Moose Lake.
This year, he helped the Moose Lake Rebels make it to the state football tournament at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“Even though I'm in a wheelchair, I'm part of the field goal unit. So I hold extra points in field goals for our kicker with the regular varsity football team,” Lilya said.
As Lilya’s mom puts it, “he always sees what he has and not what he doesn’t.”
“After the Vikings lost I was kind of bummed that I wouldn’t get to see them but just having tickets that barely any people in the whole world have, only 70,000, I’m still really excited to be one of those 70,000 who are going to be in the stadium for the game,” Lilya said.
Lilya has four tickets to the game this Sunday. He is taking his older brother, his dad and his football coach.
“No matter what your obstacles are or what your limitations may be, you can still go out and do anything that you want to if you have the right mindset for it,” Lilya said.
Lilya is rooting for the Patriots this weekend.