Captains on a football team are nothing new. It's a special designation for team leaders.  But sometimes there's an extra special captain on a team. That's the case this Saturday when the Iowa Hawkeyes host the Michigan Wolverines at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

For more than a decade, the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital has partnered with the Iowa Hawkeyes to pick kid captains to honor and celebrate their inspirational stories.


Meet Adam Arp of Williamsburg, Iowa.  According to the UI Stead Family Childrens' Hopsital website, Adam has spent his whole life under the care of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital as he contends with spina bifida and other serious conditions, receiving treatment from internationally renowned doctors and gaining a memorable nickname in the process, The Arpster, given to him by an orthopedics nurse.

Adam’s parents discovered when he was still in utero that Adam would be born with several birth defects and chronic conditions, including spina bifida, hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), Chiari malformation (brain tissue extending into the spinal cord), and many others.

Trina Haasis-Arp, Adam's Mom Said:

“You don't realize what's happening at the time,”  “It wasn't until we got to the U and did the amniocentesis… that we found out he only had one kidney and he obviously had myelomeningocele (spina bifida) and hydrocephalus.”

At just 9 hours old, neurosurgeons performed an all-night surgery to close his spinal defect and place a reservoir for hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluids in the brain.

Trina went on to say:

Spending two weeks as in-patient, we were preparing to go home, when the spinal fluid started collecting on Adam's back above the surgery site, instead of in his brain,” . “Adam went to surgery again at 14 days old to connect the shunt, and filter through a tube into his abdomen. After 28 days, Adam was released to heal at home in Williamsburg.””

An orthopedics nurse gave Adam the nickname: The Arpster.. Now a sophomore in high school, Adam likes pro wrestling, TikTok, video games, the Miami Dolphins, and anything Iowa Hawkeyes. He is an avid football card collector, participates in choir and wheelchair track, and has been high school basketball and football sports manager.

As the Hawkeyes battle it out on the gridiron, Adam continues to battle his condition. I can only assume he'll have a huge smile on his face Saturday when he's introduced as this week's "Kid Captain".  I can also assume that the smile will get even bigger if Iowa is able to upset Michigan on Saturday.

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