CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady hosted 9-year-old George Cogdill, who is battling an autoimmune condition called Henoch-Schonlein purpura, and his family on Sunday as the Bucs prepared to take on the Carolina Panthers.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion treated the family from Pinewood, South Carolina -- a two-hour drive from the Panthers' Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte -- to pregame passes and seats in the family section.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura affects the kidneys, and it landed George in the hospital in 2021. Brady, after hearing George's story, sent him an inspirational video and a signed jersey.
After multiple IV therapies, kidney biopsies and daily medication, George went from struggling to walk last year to now playing football and baseball. And like Brady, he plays quarterback and wears No. 12.
George was born with torticollis and developed plagiocephaly. He also has autism, sensory processing disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and ADHD, his mother, Carson said, but he hasn't let those things hold him back. The family credits inspiration from Brady and faith for helping him. He recently received a citizenship award at his school for always lifting up his peers and helping others.
"He is a fighter and is always positive," said Carson, who believes George gets that from his father. "Attitude determines your altitude and never letting a diagnosis define him."
As for how the experience at the Bucs' game Sunday impacted George?
"It was incredible!" Carson said.
"Even though we didn't come away with the W, it's a teaching moment in staying strong mentally even when things are not going your way. Watching Tom on the big stage and listening to the fans, some yelling good stuff and others yelling not-so-good stuff. We got to teach George that not everyone in life wants you to succeed -- let that motivate you and keep going for your goals.
"George has big dreams and for him, knowing someone like Tom Brady is in his corner, he believes he can achieve anything he sets his mind to with hard work and perseverance."
George taught Brady a thing or two as well.
"It keeps a lot in perspective for all of us," Brady said.
"I think for us, we're putting a lot out there but there's other people going through a lot in their lives... in some pretty desperate situations. It's good to have perspective in life and understand that some people have been dealt some very difficult blows. There's a lot of mental and physical toughness from that family. We wish them all the best."