Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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October 5, 2012

Colts Coin Toss Kid keeps bucking the odds

CAMBY — There was a time when doctors predicted Braden Tamosaitis would not be here. Diagnosed with spina bifida while he was still in the womb, Braden’s parents were told that he might not survive birth and if he did, he would have little cognitive ability.

But miracles come in small packages, and Braden is now 7.

He’s undergone 15 surgeries and has additionally been diagnosed with hycrocephalus and Arnold Chiari II malformation, but that’s not getting in the way of his weekend plans.

When the Indianapolis Colts play the Green Bay Packers this Sunday, Braden will be on the field, flipping the coin at midfield. He’s doing the same today at a University of Indianapolis football game, and next week he’ll head off to Disney Land as part of the Make A Wish program where he’ll go trick-or-treating with Jake and the Neverland Pirates of the famed Disney children’s show.

The Tamosaitis’ story is one of extreme perseverance in the face of impossible tragedy. Braden’s parents, Kevin and Becky, had another son, Nathan, who they lost after only six weeks. He also suffered from spina bifida.

In addition to Braden and Nathan, they have a 14-year-old daughter, Sierra. The family has started a charity in Nathan’s honor which they call Nathan’s Playroom.

Spina bifida is a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth. Hydrocephalus is a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling, also known as “water on the brain.” Arnold Chiari malformation is a condition that consists of a downward displacement of the cerebellar tonsils.

Kevin said his son has “basically grown up at Riley (Children’s Hospital).”

“A couple of years ago, our family became involved with Dance Marathons, which are college and high school level fundraising events for Riley,” he said. “At these, we shared Braden’s story and our journey through Riley. One of the Dance Marathons was involved with UIndy, which is how Braden got invited to be the coin toss kid for this Saturday’s UIndy game, which is their homecoming game.”

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