HHS football team raising Down syndrome awareness
October is being recognized as Down Syndrome Awareness Month by family members and friends of those affected by the genetic disorder — including Holton High School’s football team, which is noting the month with a special blue and yellow sticker on team members’ helmets.
“I don’t think Coach (Brooks) Barta hesitated for one minute to have our team be a part of it,” said Dena Swisher, IRC teacher at Holton High School. “Any time we can raise awareness, keep it in the public’s mind and get them to talk about it, we can remind them that individuals with Down syndrome just have an extra chromosome, They’re not much different from you and me.”
Indeed, Down syndrome — a congenital disorder arising from a chromosomal defect that affects an estimated 400,000 Americans — is something Swisher knows about, as her daughter, Satin, a 2015 graduate of HHS, was born with it.
“We’ve had several students who have gone through the Holton school system with Down syndrome, so our students are aware of it, and they’re very accepting,” Swisher said. “This is just a way to raise awareness to a different level, because the community looks up to our football team. It’s a big deal around here. If people see that our players and our coaches support it, maybe it will carry over into the community.”
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