This Teen Sports Writer With Cerebral Palsy Can’t Wait To Cover The Super Bowl On Sunday

"I’m not going to alter the path in terms of how I work just because I have a different set of circumstances."

While most college freshmen are planning to sit in front of their TV to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, Brandon Sudge will have a front row seat to the game.

The 18-year-old sports writer is from Georgia and plans on funding his own trip to Houston for the game –– a total of $800 for two nights –– in order to see the Atlanta Falcons compete for a chance at a championship win, according to Sports Illustrated.

Sudge divides his time between being a student and a freelance reporter for the local newspaper, Macon's Telegraph, where he writes about the Atlanta Falcons and recruitment for the University of Georgia's football team. But there are more obstacles Sudge faces than the traditional balancing act between school and work. He has cerebral palsy and spends a lot of his time in a wheelchair. But that, coupled with having a stutter, doesn't stop Sudge from fulfilling the duties of a sports writer. 

"I don't think being in a chair or anything should be a deterrent from going up there and talking to them at all. I'm going to go up there and be like everyone else," he told Sports Illustrated. "It's not going to change how I do anything. I'm going to go ask the question, and I hope they give me a solid answer. And if they don't want to comment on something then they don't have to. I'm not going to alter the path in terms of how I work just because I have a different set of circumstances."

Sudge's determination got the attention of Javon Wims –– the University of Georgia's former recruiter and current receiver for the school's team, the Georgia Bulldogs –– after he posted a video on Twitter of himself walking without assistance last year. He ended up receiving a "full five-star recruiting treatment" from coach Kirby Smart.

At the time, Sudge was still in high school and spent time writing about the George Bulldogs online, a move that also caught the eye of Jason Butt, a UGA reporter for The Telegraph, who ended up recruiting Sudge for a freelance job at the paper.   

"Once he graduated from high school we started to talk to him about doing some stories, and it's grown from there," he said. "I envisioned one or two stories a week and sometimes he's doing four or five stories a week. It never stops with him when it comes to story ideas. For someone his age to do what he's doing, it's really impressive. He's well beyond the path that a lot of kids his age who want to be sports writers take." 

But right now, Sudge is headed to the Super Bowl. Although he hasn't experienced the full Super Bowl week because of his lack of funds, he's planning to make his two-night trip valuable to his local readers and himself.

"I felt like with the Falcons in the Super Bowl, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get that experience as an 18-year-old and also get that content out to our readership," he said.

After the glory of getting to see the Super Bowl in person, Sudge will go back to the grind as a student and reporter. Regardless of the fact that he has a steady freelance writing job, he's still studying to become a journalist at Georgia Gwinnett College, but hopes to transfer to UGA next year. 

"If something comes up and I hear something, I'm going to go up there and report everything that I'm told — well, not everything that I'm told—but stuff that I'm told that has significance," he said. "Whether it be something about high school recruiting or team information, I'm not going to hold back because they gave me that [official recruiting visit] opportunity. I'm thankful for that opportunity. Definitely. Journalism and reporting is something that is a lifelong thing and I'm not planning to hold anything back on that." 

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