Senior defensive lineman AJ Tappa was a force for Pleasant Valley this season, helping the Spartans to a 10-1 record and a trip to the state semi finals game in Cedar Falls. Now AJ is getting one more chance to represent Spartan nation, this time in the Iowa Shrine All-Star football game.

Not only is AJ Tappa getting a chance to play with the best of the best in the state of Iowa, but AJ is also getting a chance to honor his biggest fan, his uncle Jimmy Tappa. Jimmy, who has cerebral palsy and was a patient at Shriner’s Hospital growing up, endured countless surgeries in his legs.

“You want to be able to pay things forward and be able to give back, and I’m just so proud of AJ and everything he’s been able to accomplish,” says, Jimmy Tappa. “It kind of comes full circle in the fact he can pay it back.”

AJ and Jimmy’s bond has grown even stronger over the years and as AJ got into football. Jimmy was always in the stands rooting on his favorite player, never missing a game in AJ’s four years of high school football.

Jimmy will get a chance to see AJ play once again on Saturday, July 24th as AJ suits up in the Iowa Shrine All-Star football game.