Browns host Cleveland Metropolitan School District Special Olympics football festival

Posted Mar 6, 2018

More than 800 athletes and coaches gathered at the team's facility last week

The Browns hosted more than 800 Cleveland Metropolitan School District Special Olympics athletes and coaches for a football festival last week at the team’s fieldhouse.

Browns players — including linebacker Jamie Collins Sr., tight end Seth DeValve and safety Justin Currie — alumni, team employees and volunteers helped lead multiple activity stations that included youth football drills, a 40-yard dash, inflatables, dancing, an exercise prize wheel and more.       

“It doesn't take a whole lot of effort, it doesn't take a lot whole lot of time, but you can give an hour of your time each day or a couple hours each week and really make an impact on their lives,” DeValve said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Throughout the Browns PLAY 60 celebration, Special Olympics athletes and coaches played with volunteers, personnel and alumni. The event also featured photo and autograph opportunities for attendees, as well as a tailgate lunch courtesy of Cleveland Touchdown Club Charities.

Cleveland Metropolitan Schools Special Olympics, designed for students within the district with intellectual disabilities, provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of sports. The program also offers continual opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of skills and friendship with families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

“It’s a great time, they look forward to it,” said Nicole Sellman Penny, an intervention specialist within the district. “They ask about it on the first day of school, ‘When are we going back to the Browns? When are we going back to the Browns’ … they make every kid do something positive.”

The Browns First and Ten initiative will be active throughout the celebration as volunteers from all of the participating organizations help create special memories for Special Olympics guests. Representatives from University Hospitals were also on hand to volunteer during the event in support of the team’s First and Ten campaign.

Each attendee from the more than 25 CMSD schools joining the festivities received a complimentary drawstring bag, made possible by University Hospitals. Gatorade also kept the athletes and volunteers hydrated throughout the event.

Through Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are dedicated to #give10 through the team’s First and Ten initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team’s community program, established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year.

Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fanbase, with the goal of impacting every individual’s city across the globe, as well as the franchise’s local community. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team’s website and by sharing their stories with #give10. For more information, visit

The Browns PLAY 60 movement, contributing to the NFL’s nationwide initiative to promote youth health and wellness by getting active at least 60 minutes each day, is in association with University Hospitals. The Browns actively bring PLAY 60 to the local community throughout the year to ensure kids and families are learning about and taking steps toward a healthy lifestyle.

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