Meet the Teen Sports Photographer With Down Syndrome Who Won the Hearts of Texas Community

4 months ago

In a tight-knit Texas community, 17-year-old Nash Pils, who has Down syndrome, found support for his passion for sports photography. The town gifted him a $2,000 camera lens, recognizing his unique perspective. Nash has become known for capturing heartfelt moments at football games, showcasing his talent and bringing joy to the community.

On December 7th, Franklin High’s football team in Texas, a small town near Waco, geared up for a state semifinal game.

Despite being a powerhouse, the team took a moment to honor Nash Pils, a talented 17-year-old junior with Down syndrome, known for capturing the town’s sports moments. In a heartwarming gesture, the team surprised Nash with cheers and a gift, recognizing him as their MVP.

Nash received a $2,000 camera lens as a surprise gift from Franklin High’s football team, funded by the community in just 12 hours. Known for his photography skills, Nash is the documentarian of the town’s sports. He captures moments during football games, bonding with the team as they consider him family.

Nash’s passion for photography started early, winning awards for his talent, and he found a mentor in Tom Fox, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer. Despite communication challenges, Nash’s ability to capture genuine emotions shines, especially in football.

Through his lens, Nash has found his calling.

According to White, one of Nash’s mentors, he is exceptionally skilled at capturing the atmosphere of sporting events. With encouragement from White and the community’s support, the Pils family realized that Nash has found his true calling. “For the first time, it wasn’t the disability. It was the ability.”

When Nash isn’t snapping great shots on the field, he turns his camera towards his classmates in the stands, capturing their excitement during games. His photography has become a social bridge, helping him connect and be accepted. Nash’s ability to capture genuine moments, whether in sports or among peers, has earned him admiration in the community. His infectious joy, seen in his dancing during timeouts, has made him a cherished presence at events.

Through his lens, Nash has not only showcased his talent but also changed how people see him, going beyond the label of Down syndrome.

Nash has become a cherished figure in Franklin, enjoying special access that rivals professional journalists. Coach Fannin has warmly welcomed Nash into the program, allowing him to capture unique moments like a passionate post-playoff win speech.

Even with strict locker room rules, Nash is an exception, reflecting the unique bond he shares with the Franklin Lions. The team genuinely loves him, highlighting the positive change Nash brings to the community.


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