STUART, Fla. - Wearing a big smile and football jersey bearing the initials of his older sister, Bryce Cooper made sure the Martin County Tigers got all the "knuckles" they needed.
The 9-year old fist bumped the football players on their way to a 14-7 victory over the South Fork Bulldogs.
Bryce was honored with the game ball and tossed the coin to start off Friday night's game. The team and his parents consider the young football enthusiast a hero.
Bryce called 911 and told investigators what happened in the crash that killed his 11-year old sister, Brianna.
"I don't know where he got all of this strength from," says his mother, Cindy Cooper. "He was able to tell the officers exactly what happened. 'My daddy had the green light to go.'"
Troopers say Michael Opsincs, 26, ran the red light at Pomeroy Street and Kanner Highway. His car slammed into Todd Cooper's Honda Accord, causing it to split in half.
Brianna Cooper died. Todd Cooper suffered a broken breastbone. 3-year old Brandon has serious leg injuries and his twin Brylie was bruised.
Bryce and Brylie went to the same hospital.
Todd, Brianna and Brandon went to a different one.
"Thank goodness he was there to take care of her because she didn't have anybody else there for her," says Cindy. "He's just been solid as a rock through all of this."
Cindy Cooper says the family has overwhelmed by all the support.
So many people are sharing their memories of Brianna.
"She had a smile that could melt your heart and she would do anything for you," says Cindy.
The Cooper family still needs help to pay for Brianna's funeral expenses and the family's medical bills.
There are two funds set up at area banks:
Seacoast Bank- Brianna Cooper Memorial Fund
PNC Bank- Cooper Family Memorial Fund
You can also donate at the Grace Place in Stuart.
For more information, go to www.briannacoopermemorial.com
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Latest Local News Stories