Throughout this past summer, weekends for Adapted Football League athletes were spent in the sun throwing around a football with a teammate and even meeting a Cleveland Browns player or two.
For the eighth year, Browns Give Back have partnered with the Achievement Centers for Children to provide adapted football to anyone 7 years or older with a disability. This season, the league had the highest participation to date with more than 125 athletes and over 150 volunteers.
The Adapted Football League was established in 2011. The league supports children with both cognitive and/or developmental delays and those with physical limitations. By separating into two divisions, the league is able to support players of all abilities. Division I is played on a grass field without any assistive equipment, and Division II is a power/manual wheelchair league played on a hardtop surface. Athletes and volunteers got together every Saturday for 8 weeks to enhance their skill development, socialization and physical activity. Those building blocks helped prepare participants for achievement and growth in the future.
This year, the season kicked off with an open skills session at the Achievement Centers Camp Cheerful located in Strongsville, Ohio. Cleveland Browns players, Trevon Coley, Mike Jordan, Greg Robinson, and Joe Schobert attended to lend their expertise and provide tips to the developing football players. Players rotated through stations as the athletes brushed up and refined their skills on catching, throwing, and kicking.
To celebrate the end of a successful season, the league's last game of the regular season was played on a Friday night at Lou Groza Field in Berea. It was a special moment for parents and players alike as each athlete was announced and ran out onto the football field under the lights. Local football players from Berea and Midpark High School attended the event to lend their support and cheer on the athletes.
The season came to a close with an All-Star Game at the Cleveland Browns Berea Training Facility in July. Not only did the athletes play their final game on the same field the Cleveland Browns practice on, they were welcomed into the by family and friends cheering them on. To top it off, OL Joel Bitonio , JC Tretter, and Browns alumni Frank Stams joined in on the festivities and even made time to snap a couple of pictures. The day wrapped up with an awards ceremony, where the League's numerous volunteers and athletes were recognized.
The Achievement Centers for Children's mission is to empower children and adults with disabilities and their families to achieve their greatest potential. Browns Give Back and the Cleveland Browns Foundation are proud to support such an outstanding program and all that it does to promote youth development throughout Northeast Ohio. To learn more, click here.
The Browns Give Back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
A core focus area of Browns Give Back is education. The Browns are dedicated to a solution-based, holistic approach to ensure Northeast Ohio youth receive the education they need as a foundation for independence and success by helping identify opportunities, remove barriers and provide support to students to keep them in school every day, so they can succeed.