Derek Carr has a special fan in Brooklynn Reiter
by Tom LaMarre
Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders have fans everywhere, but perhaps none quite like Brooklynn Reiter.
The 8-year-old from Forestbrook, S.C., has a rare, incurable brain condition known as hydrocephalus, and in fact is 2019 Ambassador for the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation.
Brooklynn, who has survived eight surgeries to drain fluid from her brain, is part of a family of huge Raider fans, and her favorite player is Carr, but she is concerned every time the quarterback takes a hard hit.
“(Brooklynn) worries every time he gets hit in the head that he’ll get ‘sick like me and need brain surgery,’” Reiter’s mother, Kristen, said.
Brooklynn, who watches the games in the family’s “Raider Room,” had plenty of opportunities to worry about Carr during the 2018 season because he was sacked a career-high 51 times.
Carr was touched when he heard about his young fan and mailed her this letter along with an autographed picture of himself:
“Dear Brooklynn, I hope this letter finds you well. My business manager explained to me that you are am amazing 8-year-old that has had to overcome some very difficult odds.
“I thought my job was tough, but I also know that you have had eight surgeries and continue to fight on! Well, you know what, now you are my #1 HERO! I respect your courage, tenacity, and attitude. And don’t you worry about me! When I get hit it is usually not that hard. J
“In August, I hear that you will be the National Ambassador of Hydrocephalus attending an event in Washington, D.C., and will meet Senators and Congressmen. That sounds super exciting!
“Please know that you will always be in my prayers and I hope you watch the Raiders in 2019. Keep fighting the fight and know that No. 4 is your biggest fan! God Bless you!
“Love you, Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders QB.”
Hydrocephalus is a rare brain condition occurring at birth, affecting about one in every 500 babies.
Untreated, it can be fatal.
“Some people don’t know what the word means and they don’t know how to say it,” Brooklynn said.
The condition causes excessive fluid to gather in the brain, abnormally widening spaces in the brain and placing potentially harmful pressure on brain tissues.
And the surgery comes with no guarantees.
“Its scary,” said Brooklynn’s father, John. “You don’t really know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. The shunts (placed in the brain) on average have a 50 percent success rate. They either work or they don’t.”
So far, Brooklynn is 8-for-8, and in addition to cheering for Carr and the Raiders, she enjoys drawing, playing, music, singing and dancing. She hopes to act in school plays when she is older.
For now, her motto is the same as her favorite team’s: “Just win, Baby!”