Nightly News   |  October 15, 2013

Special needs kids find joy on football field

At a high school near Atlanta, a compassionate football coach is making a difference for kids with special needs by giving them a chance to take part in a team sport that they ordinarily wouldn’t be a part of. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, and as promised our "making a difference" report, it is about a high school athletic coach in georgia with his own ideas about who show make the team. we get our story from gabe gutierrez.

>> reporter: on this field, the highlight came before kickoff.

>> you know, we don't get the opportunity to see our children like everybody else does.

>> reporter: to understand why these parents are crying, and their kids are smiling, you need to meet coach scott hamilton .

>> i need to know that i made an impact on people.

>> reporter: coach hamilton works at the high school . two years ago he decided to pick at least one player of the day for every home game . each of them with special needs . what do you think this does for these kids?

>> it just gives them a chance to be part of something they can't do normally.

>> reporter: this time, he surprised two, austin biel and levi bishop.

>> how do you like the coach here?

>> i like him because he is good to me and the players.

>> reporter: they get to wear jerseys to the pep rally , to the workout, to the pre-game bus just like the other players.

>> i want to show these boys how to be men. you can be a tough guy and still have a compassion inside.

>> they opened these players' eyes to the fact.

>> for our boys, it is for these kids.

>> honestly, i don't even think coach hamilton realizes what it does for them.

>> because while levi and austin stand on the sidelines, they are now part of a team.

>> it is the highlight of my day every day to you know, watch them come out and run through the tunnel. when i die i don't want it on my tomb stone , scott hamilton , a football coach. i want it