CARMEL, Ind. — A young Indianapolis Colts fan almost had his Christmas ruined earlier this week when the team took on the Los Angeles Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It has been a rough year for 12-year-old Austin Severson. Not only is he on crutches after tearing his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in a nasty fall but he’s been battling a chronic neurological illness as well.
“He was attached to the nebulizer for 3-plus months,” sais Austin’s mother Amanda. “We had over a dozen ER visits, three hospital stays.”
He’s been slowly improving which is why he was able to go to cheer on the Colts at their game on Monday after getting tickets as a Christmas present.
“I was expecting to have a good time and it just all backfired,” Austin said.
He and his family went early and waited outside the locker room with a football to get it signed. After collecting several signatures they returned to their seats where he set the football down with his other things and went to get something to eat.
Austin and his mom said when he came from getting food, it was gone.
“When I noticed the ball was gone I was — just i had a full anxiety attack,” Austin said. “I had to hold back tears.”
After calls to security and the lost and found, Austin and his mom believe a real-life Grinch walked by and swiped it from his seat.
“That was his Christmas present and that just totally ruined the whole experience,” Amanda said.
Amanda took to Facebook trying to spread the word and get the football replaced. She said a day later she got a message from a woman who said she could help.
“I didn’t know who she was and I called and then that’s how I found out who she was,” Amanda said. “He knew the name, I didn’t.”
Amanda said the woman was Kristin Ballard, wife of Colts General Manager Chris Ballard. While she’s holding off on saying exactly how, Amanda says Ballard told her she’d make it right.
“Less than 24 hours, the Colts said they were already going to take care of it, ” Amanda said. “I mean that’s amazing.”
Now an almost ruined Christmas has turned into one he’ll never forget.
“Shout out to Chris Ballard’s wife Kristin Ballard,” Austin said. “Thank you.”
Despite what happened, Austin says he is still a die-hard colts fan and looks forward to going back to Lucas Oil Stadium.