It's hard to believe, but this weekend is the final home game for the Hawkeyes. They will be taking on Purdue at Kinnick Stadium, which just so happens to be located right next to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. 11-year-old Laurel Schaul of Springville will be representing that hospital as this week's Kid Captain!

Laurel's life changed forever in September of 2016, when she was sitting on a yoga ball in her basement. A friend kicked the ball out from under her, and Laurel reacted in an unusual way. She just started screaming and wouldn't stop. Laurel's parents took her to an urgent care facility where they were then instructed to take her to a local hospital. On the way there, Laurel revealed that she could not move her legs. After undergoing an MRI, doctors discovered a mass on her spinal cord and sent her to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. A neurosurgeon then explained that the mass is actually a hematoma, which Medicine Net defines as, "a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel." Lauren had to have surgery just seven hours after her fall. After almost six hours of surgery, doctors successfully removed the hematoma.

Laurel's journey was not over, though. There was a chance that she would never walk again. She had to lay flat and keep still for 48-hours after the surgery, and shortly after that she began working with a physical therapist. To the amazement of her neurosurgeon, after about 8-days, Laurel was pretty much fully recovered and walking once again.

Laurel is clearly a very special kid with a ton of strength and determination! She is definitely deserving of her Kid Captain title.

To read more on Laurel's story, click HERE.

[Via UI Children's]