What's new for Snohomish's Ike Ditzenberger? A big date, Dateline NBC and Hollywood
The story of Ike Ditzenberger, the Snohomish football player with Down syndrome, keeps getting better. He got a date to the Homecoming Dance, a Hollywood production company is buying the rights to his story and "Dateline NBC" is coming to town.
SNOHOMISH — First came the touchdown dance. Then the homecoming dance.
Now Hollywood is interested and "Dateline NBC" is coming to town.
The remarkable story of Ike Ditzenberger, the Snohomish High School football player who has Down syndrome, just keeps getting better.
Ditzenberger became a national celebrity after a YouTube video of his touchdown and end-zone dance Sept. 24 against Lake Stevens drew more than 2 million views.
Kay Ditzenberger, Ike's mother, says that playing football has restored Ike's confidence. The junior even worked up the courage to ask Emily Zylstra, the homecoming princess and Snohomish County Dairy Princess, to the dance.
She said "yes."
Ike was especially excited because his mother told him he would get a high-five from Emily at the end of their date.
It seems as if everyone wants to share in Ike's life. His personality is that magnetic.
"Everyone in the school loves Ike," Snohomish coach Mark Perry said. "Everyone knows him."
Ike's 51-yard touchdown run against Lake Stevens has become a cause celebre in Snohomish County and across the country. The selflessness of the Lake Stevens players, the excitement of the Snohomish student body and Ike's indefatigable resolve was captured on the video that was posted on YouTube and went viral.
As a result, Aegis, a Hollywood production company, is purchasing the movie rights to Ike's story and "Dateline NBC" is coming to Snohomish to cover the story.
But Kay Ditzenberger was worried her son might miss out on homecoming altogether Friday when Ike grew nauseous during the day and left school early. She asked him if he needed to stay home and miss the game, school dance and his big date.
Ike didn't answer. He jumped out of bed and hurried to the parade, a homecoming tradition called "The Serpentine" that meanders through downtown of this city of about 8,500 located 30 miles northeast of Seattle. Ike was tethered to the back of a fire truck and waved pompoms as the truck slowly made its way around town. He was cheered at every turn.
Recently diagnosed as diabetic, Ike gets help from teammates, who assist him in checking his blood-sugar levels at practice and during games.
After Snohomish took an early lead en route to a dramatic 21-17 homecoming victory over rival Marysville-Pilchuck, junior quarterback Mitchell Stewart came back to the sideline, put a hand on each side of Ike's helmet and celebrated the early score.
A huge smile spread across Ike's face.
Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley contributed to this article.
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