Fulham Players Leave Field to Celebrate Goal With Fan Who Has Cerebral Palsy

© Provided by Sports Illustrated

The Championship side’s players left the field to celebrate a 50th-minute equalizer with Rhys Porter, a fan with cerebral palsy who recently connected with the club.

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It has been quite the memorable week for 13-year-old Rhys Porter. 

Porter, a Fulham fan with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, was bullied online “with thousands of hateful online comments discriminating against my disability” after posting videos on TikTok of himself playing as a goalkeeper for Feltham Bees FC, a football club for disabled people. 

Fulham, which was relegated from the Premier League last season, rallied around Porter, inviting him to training to work with goalkeepers Paulo Gazzaniga and Marek Rodák. The club website also gave Porter a player profile on its first-team roster that listed his club history and included a player bio. 

But on Saturday against Bristol City, Fulham added a touching chapter to the story as the team ran off the field to celebrate Aleksandar Mitrović’s 50th-minute goal with Porter, who watched from just behind the advertisement board at the edge of the pitch. 

Porter’s story went viral earlier this week when U.S. men’s national team and Fulham defender Tim Ream surprised Porter during an interview on British morning television show BBC Breakfast

“Day started with some emotion (yes I held back tears), and ends with opportunity. I think @rhysporter__ had a bigger affect [sic] on the squad today than we had on him,” Ream tweeted. “I said it before but he is the definition of inspiration. Keep Being You #BubyRhys All of us @FulhamFC are behind you!”

Since the initial online abuse, Porter has raised more than $22,000 for Scope, a British charity seeking equality for disabled people, as he takes part in the 13-day “Make It Count” activity challenge. 

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