Special needs players shine at Victory Day

Birmingham Groves football players help disabled students find success on the gridiron on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013

   Special needs students found success on the football field at Birmingham Groves during a unique game-day experience on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Groves.

   The “Victory Day” event took place at halftime of the Groves-Royal Oak freshman football game.

   Victory Day is an opportunity for physically and mentally challenged middle school and high school students from Birmingham Public Schools to have a game-day experience as a football player or cheerleader and have their "moment in the sun."

   The students each ran for a touchdown through the defense of the Groves’ varsity football team. The Groves’ play-by-play announcer described each touchdown to a large crowd.

   The event started out with each of the children running through a tunnel of cheerleaders with a varsity football player as their name was called by the announcer.

   Then, each student got a turn to take the ball down the field and score a touchdown. The Groves varsity players played defense, throwing themselves onto the ground in dramatic fashion while the boys carried the ball at their own pace over the goal line. Cheerleaders and other children on the sidelines shouted encouragements.

   Varsity football coach Brendan Flaherty spearheaded this effort with assistance from Groves faculty member Kelly Jean Passage.


   Students Brendan Dolan, Christian Jajonie, Teddy O'Connor, Andew James Rohrbeck, Bennet Searle, Brandon Wilson, Zachary Zanolli, Brandon Zwierzchowski, Daniel Zwierzchowski, and James Jenkins participated in the event.

   Each child also got their own jersey and a medal to commemorate their victory.

   Victory Day was created in 2010 by Aaron Segedi, a football coach and teacher in Trenton. The idea behind Victory Day came from his strong belief that building character holds equal importance to teaching his athletes game-winning plays. Trenton had its fourth annual “Victory Day” on Sept. 14.


Photo: StudentandAthlete.org

Brendan Dolan is led on the field by Birmingham Groves senior Ryan Roberts on Wednesday.


Photo: StudentandAthlete.org

Andrew James takes a handoff from Birmingham Groves junior Zach Van Faussien with the assistance of senior Alex Erickson-Suzucki on Wednesday.



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Updated Thursday, October 3, 2013  l   StudentandAthlete home

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