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Former NFL player & transplant recipient sends message of support to Tyler Christman’s family

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 8:47 PM EDT
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CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) - The life of Tyler Christman, the 14-year-old Carthage boy who died after suffering a brain injury during a JV football game last week, has touched the hearts of thousands across the north country. It’s also caught the attention of a man who shares a passion for the sport Tyler loved.

“It was just heartfelt. I felt for the parents, because it’s tough to have to bury a child, said Lional Dalton. He’s a former NFL player and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.

It was Tyler’s love of football that struck a chord with Dalton. But it was also the second chance Tyler will now be giving to others that hit especially close to home.

Last weekend, Tyler suffered a serious brain injury during a football game. He was on life support until Tuesday... when his family took part in what’s known as a hero walk, a ceremonial event to honor a patient before an organ donation. That act could change lives.

Dalton, the former professional football player, is a kidney recipient himself. He was in the end stages of kidney failure when he found a donor. That donor was a 17-year-old boy who died in an accident.

“The person that donated the kidney to me gave me more time with my family,” Dalton said. “I’m sure Tyler’s organs will be doing the same for one lucky family.”

In a Facebook post earlier this week, Tyler’s father hailed him a hero “to all families who have spent sleepless nights praying for their miracle.”

“You guys are heroes for donating his organs. You guys are probably going to save eight lives with Tyler’s one life. We really appreciate you,” Dalton said.

This past Sunday, Dalton launched his non-profit, “Jelly Roll Gift of Life.” Dalton said the non-profit supports organ donors and recipients who may need support, both financially, and otherwise, along their journey.

Since receiving the transplant in April, Dalton has reflected on how lucky he is. He wants the Christman family to know he’ll lend an ear if they need someone to listen.

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