Among the game balls coach Mack Brown handed out last Saturday after Texas’ 33-7 victory over Iowa State was one to Mikal Gasch .
A staunch Longhorn fan, the 17-year-old from Cuero was a special guest of the UT football team for the weekend culminating in the game, a visit arranged through the international children’s charity Kids Wish Network.
In a press release, the charity said Mikal was born with spina bifida and later was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. He also is afflicted with Chiari malformation, which affects balance. The Kids Wish Network said he recently had a shunt implanted in his spine near the brain stem because of a cyst that formed in his spine. He has had 20 surgeries.
Mikal and his family arrived in Austin on Friday and attended a final Longhorns’ practice before the game, then joined the team for dinner that evening. He and his family watched the game Saturday near the Longhorns’ bench.
Afterward, he joined the team in the locker room, where Brown presented him a game ball.
“He feels this was the best weekend of his whole life,” his mother, Sonja Gasch, said in the Kids Wish Network release. “He’ll never, ever forget it, and neither will we.”