KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Think about the first sporting event you ever went to. It was likely loud, rambunctious and possibly cramped.
At the start of the Kansas City Chiefs season, the Children’s Center for the Visually Impairedheld a raffle to send a few lucky families to a game. These families got to experience an NFL game from the comfort of a suite to limit sensory overload and allow kids to watch a game live with fewer restrictions.
One of those families was the Buckman family. Their 4-year-old son, Wells, loves the Chiefs. He has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and cortical visual impairment (CVI), so sitting in a normal seat in the thick of the crowd at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium wouldn’t have been easy.
“It was a great way to watch the game and be able to enjoy it without all the hustle and bustle and then at the same time to let him have that experience," said Greg Buckman, Wells' father. "And then we were able to have a locker room pass, which was really fun as well."
Wells got to freely move around the suite and watch the game without limitations. He was free to cheer as loud as he wanted. He also got to go down to the field and get high-fives from players, like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.
“It was just really cool to see how the players really responded to him because they actually took time out to stop to make sure that they gave him a five. He's a little delayed in his processing,” Greg Buckman said. “So, you know, they have their hands up for a five and it takes him a second and there was multiple players I remember like Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith coming back to make sure he got a five and a fist bump.”
Buckman said at home, Wells tunes into football games and it wasn’t any different at an in-person game. He said he is grateful that CCVI and the Chiefs make sports accessible and inclusive for children like his son.
“Giving them the experiences of going to, you know, Chiefs games... or play kickball. He’s done that where he gets to be a part of a team and gets to enjoy the sports but it looks different,” Buckman said. “And I think that's the cool thing about CCVI is that they know that it's going to look different for every student, but (at) the exact same time what needs to be done to make that experience great. They're willing to put in that work to do that.”