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Siblings With Down Syndrome Play Football With Similarly-Abled Peers

Members of a popular Colorado football family came together on Saturday for children with Down syndrome. The McCaffrey brothers along with their dad Ed, some former and current Broncos players and the Denver Broncos cheerleaders teamed up to get the kids on the field. They helped some of them play football and taught others to cheer them on. It was part of the Dare to Play Football and Dare to Cheer game day at Valor Christian High School.

By Michael Abeyta

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) - Like most Coloradans, Jeff McGarrity and his son Jeffrey and Daughter Cecilia are Broncos fans.

"We're Broncos fans no question, yeah absolutely," said Jeff.

They watch every Sunday.

"My son Jeffrey loves football. Cecilia loves cheerleading."

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(credit: CBS)

They never imagined they would be able to do those things. Jeffrey and Cecilia have Down syndrome, and finding similarly abled peers to put together a football game is challenging. But thanks to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Jeffrey, Cecilia and 74 other kids were able to come out Saturday morning to Highlands Ranch to have some fun.

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Jeffrey got to play football and his sister got to be a cheerleader. Since it was their first time out on the gridiron, they had a little help learning how to be a part of the game. NFL players of today and yesterday coached the football players while Denver Broncos cheerleaders taught the young squad how to move.

"It's a neat experience to have the kids able to do it," Jeff said.

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It means a lot to the parents to see their kids succeed and have fun. And on a Saturday in June, it's hard to think of a better place to spend your morning.

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"A great day like this, its families coming together. It's cool to have everyone here," Jeff said.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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