Teen Quarterback Plays Football Via Virtual Reality after Battling Brain Cancer

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LATHROP -- A San Joaquin County teen’s only wish, to play football again after battling brain cancer, has been granted.

Last week, we shared the story of how the community of Lathrop, Make-A-Wish, and Keannu Linnell’s loved ones were coming together.

An aggressive form of brain cancer may have taken Keannu Linnell out of the game, but it didn’t knock the 17-year-old completely down.

His mother says latest scans found no traces of cancer.

“The experience was able to give him something to, just to spark his energy again and fill that sense of playing football,” said Yesenia Linnell, Keannu’s mother.

Make-A-Wish, Lathrop High school, and the teen’s family and friends filled the stands Friday and watched along as the high school senior played football in virtual reality.

“It was great,” Keannu said.

It was a secret, months in the making. Emerge XR shot footage of his teammates and the crowd days ago.

“Really inspired by the story when we found out he was an all-star quarterback football player on his way to the varsity football team,” said Dave Walsh, CEO and Founder of Emerge XR.

Keannu was wheeled onto the field with a blindfold and headphones, after the seven-minute game, the crowd surprised him.

He showed the crowd his sense of humor is still intact and so is his ability to inspire.

“Continue fighting, pushing forward, he continues to exercise and get better,” Yesenia said.

Keannu’s mom says he still has a long road of recovery ahead, but she believes it’s only a matter of time before his wish is granted.

“Whatever type of sport, he’s going to play and it’s not going to hold him back,” Yesenia stated.

Keannu’s football coach also announced that as long as he’s around no one else will wear the number ‘5’ jersey, which Keannu proudly still wears.


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