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Some Wisconsin basketball players are being lauded not for their ball handling, but bully handling skills. Last year, seventh graders from Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Wisconsin were in the midst of a basketball game when they overheard some bullies heckling Desiree Andrews, a cheerleader who has Down syndrome.
"D" as she is affectionately called, is a familiar sight at middle school sports events. However, the young girl who loves to cheer and dance does not always follow the routine of the cheerleading team. She tends to create her own choreography, which is why the bullies thought it was fair game to tease her. What they didn't expect, however, was that the basketball players were not about to tolerate the unsportsmanlike conduct.
According to Brandon Morris who coaches the boys seventh-grade team, one of the players walked up to the bullies during a timeout and warned them not to mess with Desiree. To ensure they knew he was serious, the rest of the team members stood together to show their support.
What is even more heartwarming is that the incident led to the start of a great friendship between Desiree and some members of the team. They now walk her to class everyday and also involve her in the introduction of the starting lineup for the boys basketball team. And while Desiree, who is now in eighth-grade, will soon move on, her tale will live on forever. That's because Lincoln Middle School has renamed their gym "D's House" in her honor!
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that is caused when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. With one in every 691 babies in the United States born with this condition, it is a very common chromosomal condition. People with this disorder have short attention spans and delayed language and speech development. They are also at risk for a range of health conditions that include hearing loss, vision problems and heart abnormalities.
Resources: huffingtonpost.com, jrn.com