‘Priceless:’ Young Bengals fan with rare condition smiles his way though Super Bowl

The young fan wears his No. 85 Higgins jersey for every game.
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 10:04 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - River Blank is still riding high on the emotions of attending Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, California some six days afterward.

One of the biggest Cincinnati Bengals fans out there, the 10-year-old New Richmond boy has a rare condition known as infantile scoliosis, or an abnormal sideways curve of the spine.

He was surprised with tickets to the game thanks to Gold Star Chili.

River took in the sights and sounds of Los Angeles before heading to SoFi stadium, where the Bengals took on the Rams.

“I didn’t lose faith, but I knew that we would of had to have an offensive line,” he said of the play late in the fourth quarter where the Rams took the lead.

As fans stood up around him, River’s older brother, Fisher Blank, lifted him up so he could see the final drive.

“I know he’d want to see it, and he couldn’t, so I just wanted him to be able to see,” Fisher said. “Whatever happened in those last three minutes, I wanted him to be able to see.”

The Blank family says it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience despite the game result.

“Watching him smile and having fun, it’s priceless to me,” said River’s dad, Travis Blank. “I think him being positive and upbeat with this, I think that helps in general, just going into the surgery.”

River has a consultation on March 8 to plan out his next surgery. Travis says there’s a lot everyone can learn from how the 10-year-old is handling things.

“Live your best life,” Travis said. “Make sure every day counts.”

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