Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead wasn’t on the field Saturday for the Cornhuskers, but No. 22 still scored a memorable touchdown.
The 69-yard gallop by Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old pediatric brain cancer patient, touched the hearts of millions of people nationwide this weekend.
Nebraska Director of Football Operations Jeff Jamrog came up with the idea late Friday and ran his idea by Cornhuskers fullback CJ Zimmerer, the President of Nebraska’s Uplifting Athletes chapter.
“It was sort of last minute. Coach Jamrog knew I was working to get Uplifting Athletes some exposure at the spring game. Once he told me his plan, I called Rex to see if he was going to be at the game,” Zimmerer said.
“We didn’t know how we were going to do it, but coach Bo (Pellini) told the whole team about it before the game.”
Hoffman’s personal relationship with Burkhead was the inspiration for Nebraska forming an Uplifting Athletes chapter in 2012. The partnership between Team Jack and Uplifting Athletes raised more than $300,000 for pediatric brain cancer last season.
“When I first saw the video I thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for not only Jack, but all college football fans,” Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Scott Shirley said. “There’s something about this that is so moving. The great part is that it happened so organic.”
ESPN Sportscenter made Jack’s dash its No. 1 Play of the Day Saturday. Fox News and several other major media outlets wrote follow-up pieces on Sunday. Twitter and Facebook told their own story of people’s individual reaction.
“Jack impacts us more sometimes than we impact him I feel. That’s what is so amazing about this,” Zimmerer said. “I was getting so excited on the sideline planning the play with him. As he ran down the field I had the biggest smile on my face I’ve ever had in my life. My whole body was tingling.
“The whole team running down the field was just spontaneous. To have something like this happen on short notice and be so successful, it’s huge for Uplifting Athletes and pediatric brain cancer.”
You can help Uplifting Athletes and Team Jack fight pediatric brain cancer by purchasing your officially licensed Team Jack T-Shirt HERE.