Colton Sheets Returns To Lead Blue Raiders

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Middle Tennessee will welcome back one of its favorite team captains Saturday.

Colton Sheets, a 10-year-old Blue Raider fan and cancer survivor, will serve as honorary captain against Louisiana Tech for the second time.

“You tell a 10-year-old he can come be an honorary captain for MTSU and they go crazy,” Colton’s mother Jennifer Sheets said. “He can’t wait, he’s excited, he asks about it – he truly feels like he’s a part of the team, which is special.”

A year and a half ago, Colton underwent a cord-blood transplant at Seattle Children’s Hospital. While there he was visited by some pretty cool celebrities: Captain America and Star-Lord (actually actors Chris Evans and Chris Pratt dressed in their costumes from “Captain America” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”).
Since then he has had a spinal tap, which came back negative of cancer, and he’s stayed on treatments to make sure the disease stays away.

He has another spinal tap scheduled for Feb. 6 of next year, and if that comes back clear he will be considered in remission. At that point, his mother said he will be able to take immunizations so he can go to school in a traditional setting. Right now he is in a virtual academy at home, where he can see the teachers and his classmates without being in a classroom.

Colton was named honorary captain the first time last season in MT’s 73-14 win over Charlotte. It was a chance of a lifetime for Colton and one his family will never forget.

“I noticed last year when we came to practice when he got off the golf cart he went out to the field and bent down real slow and touched the grass,” Jennifer Sheets said. “He said that’s the first time he’d ever felt the grass on a football field … this is a big deal for us to be here and for all of the kids who go through serious illnesses like this. To be at this point is a miracle.”

The opportunity to serve as captain came about while his family was eating dinner at a Buffalo Wild Wings after returning from Colton’s transplant surgery in Seattle. Middle Tennessee graduate assistant Tyler Boyles overheard them talking and exchanged contact information with the family.

Soon enough, he contacted them about getting Colton onto the practice field and in front of the Blue Raider crowd on game day.

“We would never be here without Tyler,” Jennifer Sheets said. “It was perfect because September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, so what an amazing honor.”

Boyles and Colton hit it off immediately. They still hang out regularly and enjoy playing videogames with each other.

“I’d say we’re equally matched,” Colton said.

This year may be a little different for Colton, because he knows the team a little more than he did a year ago.

“He couldn’t wait to see the guys and he acts like he’s seen them a thousand times and knows them,” Jennifer Sheets said. “It’s like a normal type of activity.”

The Blue Raiders hope he can again be their good luck charm against Louisiana Tech on Saturday. Colton even made a prediction for the game. He expects the Blue Raiders to win by 20 points.

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