Friday, September 18, 2009

Touchdown for Down Syndrome Player in St. Joe, MO

One of the first things that popped out at me when I moved to Kansas City from San Francisco was the presence of Down Syndrome kids. You don’t see hardly any in San Francisco. Here in the heartland they are welcomed and loved in schools and communities and most importantly, born.

Here’s the story behind the video below which ran on the local news tonight, as explained by Matt Ziesel’s family:

Freshman Matt Ziesel scores a touchdown against Maryville. Below is a little write-up from the Ziesel family for those of you not familiar with Matt: Matt is a special athlete who has Down Syndrome. He loves football and has grown up in an environment surrounded by sports. His father is a coach/ athletic director, and all his siblings play sports. He grew up at athletic events, and has always been a cheerleader. He registered as a freshman at Benton High School -Saint Joseph, MO this year, and told his mother and father he wanted to play football. The team takes good care of looking after Matt, and he is still the cheerleader on the sidelines. He puts his pads and helmet on, stands next to Coach McCamy and waits for his turn to play. Over and over during the course of the game Matt will say, "Coach McCamy, I am ready! I am ready Coach!" On this Monday night coach gave him a chance. The Cardinals were down by a few touchdowns with 15 seconds left. Coach McCamy called a timeout and asked the coach of Maryville High School if they could run their "Matt Play". He agreed and this is where the video begins. Thanks to Coach McCamy and the freshman coach at Maryville, Matt and his family will cherish his moment forever!

- Sincerely The Ziesel Family

And here’s the video: