4 / -9
      18 / -15
      31 / 18

      Cody Rye nationally recognized

      He's a senior football player at Ironwood High School on his way to Michigan Tech next year to study mechanical engineering. But what you may not have guessed about this 17 year old is he lost motor control of his feet in a car accident when he was five.

      Cody Rye gets around in a wheelchair. But what's remarkable about Cody's story is that he doesn't see himself as handicapped. As a freshmen, Cody told his parents he wanted to play high school football. Their answer?

      "Even though I wanted to, I wanted to see him play football, but I said no way, said Cody TMs father, Robert Rye.

      But they eventually let him take the field after Cody underwent strength training for a year. And he's been an asset to the team ever since.

      "He's a leader on the team and off in the weight room here where we are right now, said Ironwood TMs head football coach, Dan Niemi. Like you've heard, the crowd erupts when he goes into the ball game, and he's always at practice encouraging the kids and helping out quite a bit."

      On the field, Cody's teammates wheel him out to his position before a play.

      When asked, 'You're not afraid of these people charging at you?"

      Cody replied with a smile, Uh uh, once they get to the ground, we're at ground level; you know when they have to get set and I TMm set, we're at ground level when that ball says, 'Hut,' we collide.

      After speaking with his classmates, teachers, parents and advisors, it's clear...Cody is an inspiration to his community.

      "So many people look up to him, you know, like, no I can't do that, and they're like, yes I can...he does it, said Cody TMs mother, Lori Rye. There's nothing holding him back."

      And now he's inspiring a nation. Cody has been nominated for the High School Football Rudy Award, a national award that could win him a college scholarship of $5,000 to $10,000.

      "I TMm pretty surprised I made it to the top 12 you know, Cody said. I got the phone call and I was, like, wow! A kid from Ironwood actually made it that far."

      But as the only nominee from the U.P., he needs your help to win it.

      To cast your ballot for Cody, click here.