The Patriot Press

Football team managers with down syndrome

Margaret Baumgartner, Staff Writer

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When it comes to high school football you imagine the coaches being the ones bossing the players around, guiding them. But for the Liberty football players it is nearly the complete opposite of that. Kevin McCarthy (K-Dog), Blake Horvath, and Brian Galbraith are these people.

“They’re the crazy party uncles that you have the most fun with all the time,” senior Julian Bruce said. “No matter what they always have given 120% more than anyone else on the team.”

All three of them have Down Syndrome, but none of them lets that hold them back. The team sees them as their biggest supporters, even more than their fans. They don’t see them as managers, but friends.

“K-Dog, Blake, and Brian are always overwhelmingly super positive,” coach Steve Valach said,”They remind us that football is just a game, and we tend to forget that.”

At the end of every practice the day before a game the Football players call K-Dog onto the field to run one play. The play is versus a coach defence. K-Dog sets up in a position of his choice, and then he runs. His teammates block the way for him and everybody cheers him on. K-Dog makes a touchdown and does a victory dance.

Before each game K-dog gives a speech. He walks up throwing his hands up in the air and the team responds with cheering and positive reinforcements. Then just as quickly as K-dog gets the team loud he shushes them to be quiet and then he delivers a speech to the players.

“He talks like a coach and acts like a coach most of the time. But when he delivers a speech, he is inspiring,” coach Brad Anderson said.

K-dog, Blake, and Brian have dedicated most of their lives to being team players for a team they call family.

“They have always been here, ever since the very beginning,” Julian Bruce.

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Football team managers with down syndrome