Hixson football squad embraces teammate with Down syndrome
By Stephen Hargis, Chattanooga Times Free Press
Although Austin was born with Down syndrome, he has played several sports and has quickly become a well-liked member of the Hixson football team. Photo by Patrick Smith/Times Free Press
HIXSON (Times Free Press) - The rain clouds that have lingered over the area much of the summer finally had lifted, and the late afternoon sun, along with the promise of a new football season, was energizing Hixson High School's players.
As more than 70 teenage boys worked through various drills, the thud of pads crashing and the chirp of a coach's whistle were prevalent for the first few minutes of practice.
Just then, after the authoritative yell of head coach Jason Fitzgerald boomed instruction, another voice could be heard giving encouragement.
Austin Clark, a 4-foot-2, 135-pound freshman lineman, and the heart and soul of this year's Wildcats, adjusted his helmet and greeted each teammate who completed the tackling drill with a fist bump, a 1,000-watt smile and an endless supply of spunk.
Thursday, August 21 2014 8:02 AM EDT2014-08-21 12:02:08 GMT
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