It’s become a tradition at Ohio State, just before the start of training camp for the football team. Many Buckeye players who are finishing workouts for the day make sure they’re free around lunchtime to do some coaching and cheering.
Friday afternoon, that tradition continued with the annual Special Needs Football Camp at the Woody Hayes Center. More than 200 athletes with varying disabilities took part in skills training, and some socializing with their OSU heroes, like running back Master Teague.
“There’s all different types of people in the world, and you come to appreciate different types of people.” Teague says. “You put yourself in their shoes, you really empathize with them.”
That’s especially true for senior All-American defensive tackle Haskell Garrett. Garrett has an older sister who was born with Down Syndrome and also has autism. She’s endured numerous surgeries in her life.
“With my own family connection, I know what these kids are going through with medication, treatments and all that… And for them to still be striving, trying to live every day, it’s more of an inspiration for me and my teammates to go out there every Saturday and work our butts off.” Garrett says.
Camp founder Steven Weaver says many Buckeye players requested for camp to return after the pandemic forced last year’s event to be canceled.