Football players embrace teammate with Down syndrome

HOUSTON

Since he was young, Colton always dreamed of playing ball. But because he has down syndrome, it just wasn't an option.

"I would love for him to be able to play but I wouldn't want him to get hurt. And I'm afraid he wouldn't understand the rules and the problems that could come up and that he could get hurt," his mother, Shelley Webb, said.

So it was a coach's idea to have him play a different role, one with as much responsibility as any player on the field.

And Colton didn't think twice.

"I like to help," he said.

Team manager would be his title. It's title he's learned to wear well, a title that gives him the opportunity to feel as important as a player.

And they love him.

"For sure, he's always there for support, so if you're down, he's gonna pick you up," quarterback John Bolfing said.

"Real good guy, always being real nice, hugs everybody, high fives us," teammate Chase Rosenfield said.

They have come to depend on him on the field and off. He's there for encouragement, there to help fold laundry, hang jerseys and put equipment away, even there for the coach.

"Colton and I have a good relationship. When I ask him to do something, he'll do it. He says, 'Yes sir,' 'No sir,' and knows what he's supposed to do," coach John Bolfing said.

Colton, who's been on the team for four years now, has attended all but one football game. He helps pass out water to the players and also helps out the cheerleaders every once in a while.

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