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Down Syndrome and Sports: The Heart of the Game

Football is about grit, teamwork and heart. Noah VanVooren, a high school student from Wisconsin, displayed all of this and more in his recent senior night football game. Watch Greenbay's Fox 11 news story here.

VanVooren was born 18 years ago with Down syndrome. In an interview after the game, his parents said "...the doctors told us he would never be able to walk or do anything." Yet, 18 years later, VanVooren ran in a touchdown to bring his hometown to its feet.

Benefits of Sports

VanVooren exemplifies the importance of sports and physical exercise for children with Down syndrome. Like all children, children with Down syndrome can benefit from the competiveness, discipline, and physical exercise involved in sports. They gain additional physical benefits by improving motor skills at an early age. Sports like swimming and gymnastics pinpoint motor skill development which can help with dribbling, catching, and running later in more group-oriented sports. But more importantly, early group involvement builds the confidence and social skills needed to take on many of life's challenges.

Benefits of Both Inclusion and Separate Leagues

Inclusion is always a controversial topic among the special education community. VanVooren's story shows that inclusion into mainstream sports can benefit an individual with Down syndrome and also the community as a whole. Additionally, separate leagues can offer their own advantages. Alternative leagues can factor in unique physical capabilities sometimes caused by heart abnormalities and hand-eye coordination in Down syndrome athletes. This allows modifications that help level the playing field.

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If you have any questions about your child's special education services, Contact us by email or call us at 714-602-1498 or 866-781-7723 (toll free) for more information.

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Augustin Egelsee L.L.P.
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Toll Free: 866-781-7723
Phone: 714-602-1498
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