Heart of a champion: The Brady Cox story

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - If we measured people by the size of their heart rather than their height, Brady Cox might stand taller than everyone else. That's ironic considering his original heart failed him, leading to a heart transplant at the age of 4.

A fan of sports all his life, Brady found a way to be involved but wasn't able to play. So he found the next best thing, being a student manager for West High School and a bat boy for the Tennessee Smokies. "I just love sports and I always wanted to be in it, but my doctor said I couldn't play football. But I love watching it and it's a perfect job for me," says Cox.

Rebels coach Scott Cummings is glad that Cox made the decision to be involved. "He's way more than just a manager to us. He's as much a team member as our senior captains," states Cummings.

Cox treats even the smallest tasks as if they were the most important. Cox says it's his way to be a part of the team, "I just think that's the closest thing to me being in the game. I guess that's why I work the hardest that I can."

That kind of passion earned Cox something few managers get a chance to experience, suiting up and playing. His opportunity came during a jamboree game for the Rebels in the preseason. "He deserved the chance to suit up one time. At the jamboree, inside Neyland Stadium, what a better opportunity than that," says Cummings.

Cox lined up at wide receiver for one official play. It may have only been one play in a preseason game, but the chance to step on the field, and at Neyland Stadium no less, is a memory that will last a life time for the Senior. "At first I thought it was a dream because I was inside Neyland Stadium. When I lined up, I looked up and it said Neyland Stadium and I thought no way I'm here. My dad loved it because all his family members played football. And he thought he would never see me play football."

Now Cox is back on the sideline doing his best to help the West Rebels continue their successful run. And he does so with the same passion that he has always had.

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