04/21/2013 03:11 pm ET | Updated Apr 21, 2013

Noah Roberts Touchdown: 8-Year-Old With Neurofibromatosis Scores TD In East Carolina Game (VIDEO)

East Carolina University's football team welcomed an honorary Pirate Saturday when 8-year-old Noah Roberts scored a touchdown during the final game of the spring practice season.

Roberts, who suffers from a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis, ran the ball into the end zone as his teammates blocked, providing a clear path down the field. After Roberts completed the play, he was lifted onto the shoulders of his teammates, who chanted his name.

"If you didn't have goosebumps or a tear in your eye, you may want to check your pulse after that one," ECU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley told Inside ECU Sports after the play.

According to local ABC affiliate WCTI12, Roberts has been a huge fan of the ECU Pirates since his sister started attending the university. So ECU strength and conditioning coach Jeff Connors brought the 8-year-old to a practice session last season. He got along with the players so well that he stuck with the team.

"Noah is special to us,” ECU coach Ruffin McNeill told The Sun Journal. “We’ve had Noah as a part of our team for the past two years. You can see how the kids reacted to Noah, so that tells you what he means to us."

Diagnosed with a neurological disorder that is marked by the growth of tumors on the nerves in 2010, Roberts has had two tumors removed from his brain and one from his spinal cord, CBS Sports reports.

Though Roberts had to return to the hospital Sunday, his mother said the special moment has enlivened him.

"[W]hen he found out about this, it just lifted his spirits," Lisa Roberts told WCTI12, adding "he was so happy it’s given him something to look forward to the past few days."

Earlier this month, the Nebraska Cornhuskers arranged a special play for a 7-year-old with brain cancer. With the team behind him, Jack Hoffman ran the ball 69 yards to score a touchdown in a touching moment during the spring football game.

Watch Roberts score a touchdown during ECU's Purple-Gold game in the video above.


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