ATLANTA — The 10-year-old boy who received a big belated Christmas hug from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton survived surgery to address a life-threatening heart problem.
The encounter between Taylor Deckard and Newton went viral after Auburn University posted the video to social media.
Taylor's teacher told Channel 9 that he still has a long road ahead and he will remain in the hospital for the near future.
Last week when Newton spoke with Channel 9's Jason Stoogenke, Newton said he plans to follow up with Taylor's family.
Taylor’s Christmas wish had been to meet the reigning NFL MVP, and that wish came true Tuesday.
Newton entered the boy’s hospital room and Taylor, after a few seconds of disbelief, stood up and gave him a big hug, without wanting to let go.
Taylor was decked out in Newton’s No. 2 Auburn jersey when his idol entered his room at an Atlanta children’s hospital.
When Newton asked him how he was doing, Taylor climbed out of bed and hugged him. During the long embrace, Newton said, "I feel your heart. It's going 1,000 miles an hour."
Newton appeared touched by the moment in the video posted by Auburn. He twice said, "Aw, man."
Newton reflected on that special moment when he spoke with the media Wednesday.
“He’s a person full of joy,” Newton said after seeing the boy. “Full of energy, it’s sad what he was going through, but I was happy just to be there.”
The quarterback, who won the 2010 Heisman Trophy en route to leading the Tigers to an undefeated season and the national championship, gave the boy a bag full of athletic-apparel goodies and played with Nerf guns.
Three weeks ago, doctors diagnosed the boy as having advanced pulmonary hypertension. There is no cure.
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