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Belle Vernon Area QB Dobbins visits second grader after bad break

| Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

When Aidan Ochs took a spill off the monkey bars and broke his arm, he was only upset about one thing.

"I was really scared because I didn't think I was going to be able to play football anymore," said the Rostraver Elementary second grader.

Aidan, the son of Aaron and Kristy Ochs, of Belle Vernon, is in his third year of flag football. He plays for the Rostraver Leopards of the Mon Valley Midget Football League.

When Aidan went to the doctors, he found that he fractured his radius, just above the wrist. The injury requires him to be in a cast for up to four weeks.

"He was devastated," Kristy Ochs said of Aidan's reaction. "He loves playing football."

Jody Grove, Aidan's teacher, knew Aidan was upset about not being able to play football and immediately began making phone calls.

Grove contacted BVA running back Ian Dobbins, Leopards Coach Aaron Krepps and BVA Principal Gregory Zborovancik, and asked if Ian could visit my classroom," Grove said.

Dobbins, the Belle Vernon Area quarterback, broke his hand in the team's first game of the season. The following week, he returned with a cast on to play running back. He finished the game with a 57-yard touchdown run and a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown.

"I wanted Aidan to know that he wasn't alone in suffering from an injury like that," Grove said.

Grove's plan came to fruition, and Aidan got the surprise of his young life.

Dobbins, and fellow seniors Adam Cole and Jake Burritt visited Aidan in class on Sept. 16.

"I was really excited to see them," Ochs said. "He had a cast just like mine. I didn't know Mrs. Grove called them."

Dobbins didn't come to Aidan's class empty handed. He brought Aidan a football signed by the entire Leopards team. Aidan carried it around proudly the rest of the day.

"It was pretty cool that the whole team signed it," he said. "I was so happy. One of my friends told me that I was so lucky, and that he wished he had a broken arm, too."

Now, the football rests proudly on Aidan's dresser.

It wasn't just the football that made Aidan happy.

"Ian made me feel like I can play more," Ochs said. "Just because I have a cast, I can still do good and score touchdowns."

Aidan, who like Dobbins plays running back and cornerback, said he was surprised that Grove called Dobbins and did that for him.

Aidan also plays baseball and basketball, but said football is his favorite sport.

"I really like football," Ochs said. "I want to play for the Leopards in high school."

Aidan's mom was surprised to hear of Dobbins' visit.

"That was such a nice thing for Mrs. Grove to do," she said. "For Ian and those boys to do that for Aidan was so special.

"It's something he's going to remember his whole life."

Kristy Ochs hasn't had a chance to see or speak to Dobbins, but hopes to soon.

"I really want to thank him and Coach Krepps for what they did. That's awesome."

Grove didn't have to think twice about trying to help out.

"I knew Aidan was so upset," Grove said. "I just wanted to try to help. I knew Ian had suffered a broken hand and had a cast, too.

"These little boys really look up to those guys on the high school team."

Grove also praised the work of Krepps since he took over the reigns of the Leopards' football program.

"Coach Krepps has done a great job. He's not only dedicated in making football players but making the boys great young men. This is proof of that," she said.

Aidan, who gets his cast off Oct. 14, hopes to be one of those young men in a few years.

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