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Beyond the Gridiron: Tapio Tackles Life and the Gridiron

Chelsie Brown
Updated: September 24, 2019 11:34 PM

Up until his junior year, Beau Tapio spent most of his time as a spectator on the Mountain-Iron Buhl football sidelines.

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"He's always here. He's at every practice," explained Beau's father Brandon Tapio.

"His brother has always played and he's always been a spectator. He's at every game," added Beau's mother Tabitha Tapio.

For Beau, that meant running the clock or making sure his younger brother Damien was working hard. It was enough until he watched last year's Rangers' squad avenge a 22-0 regular season loss against top-seeded Cook County, where MIB advanced to their first state tournament since 2010. From then, Tapio knew he wanted to experience what it was like to be on the team.

"Getting an opportunity to play is all I cared about. I didn't care about where," Beau explained about what position he played.

However, Beau's parents weren't exactly on board with him joining the football team.

"We were hoping he was kidding," said Tabitha with a laugh.

That's because at the age of two years old, Tapio was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. At about nine months old is when the school noticed he wasn't walking crawling or sitting up like most kids. Because of his developmental delays, that lead to multiple surgeries, hours of physical therapy every day, and for Tapio, what felt like a lifetime of sitting out on the sidelines.

"I never wanted to skip gym glass or skip class time with my friends," Beau said. "I just remember sitting in the hospital for weeks. Then, going to physical therapy for forever it felt like."

Going through this process from about the age of two to eight years old, it was difficult for Beau to realize the benefits these surgeries could have. His parents say one in-particular helped Tapio progress the most.

"The biggest surgery he had was dorsal rhizotomy where they splice the nerves along the lower portion of the spine and that's when he went from a walker to one crutch," Tabitha explained.

It's been a long process for Beau to get to where he is today, but with his drive and persistence, Tapio's transitioned from the sidelines to the trenches.

"It's always been a dream of his since he was a little, little boy," Tabitha added.

Credits

Chelsie Brown

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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