By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Football program won the hearts of fans all over the country with a Division III National Football Championship last December.
But on Saturday, October 14, UMHB found the goal line and broke into the zone again by celebrating TouchDOWNS!
Crusader Stadium had a chance to witness an absolutely heartwarming event, as many members of our special needs community with Down Syndrome had the opportunity to take the field, run into the hallowed end zone and celebrate a halftime touchdown.
Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability. The average IQ of a young adult with Down syndrome is 50, equivalent to the mental ability of an 8- or 9-year-old child, but this can vary widely.
Down syndrome is one of the most common chromosome abnormalities in humans. It occurs in about one per 1,000 babies born each year, per the European Journal of Pediatrics.
Some of the Crusader players that did not play in Saturday’s victory against Howard Payne helped make the event genuine in nature, playfully missing tackles.
Sarah Harborth, the assistant sports information director for UMHB, stated that our friends with Down Syndrome as much as part of our community as we are.
“These people are a part of our community and God teaches us to love everyone, and we should open our eyes to help better their lives,” Harborth said.
The Crusader Nation has shown that diversity is never a problem on the field and it should never be a problem off the field.
Education about Down Syndrome will help us understand the effects of this genetic disorder and how it affects the human body.
UMHB President Randy O’Rear, who came up with the idea of bringing everyone together, first brought this event to the attention of the athletic board.
Although this event was only during football season, the school has hinted at future possibilities of adapting the event to other sport functions. The City of Belton supports the Down Syndrome community and UMHB further supports the cause.
Behind the scenes, other student-athletes and volunteers helped in all sorts of different functions to make the day a brighter one for all involved.
For more information on all of events that UMHB conducts, visit CruAthletics.com.