Young athletes with disabilities show football is more than a game

APEX, NC (WNCN) — There were lots of winners on the football field over the weekend at West Lake Middle School.

The Consolidated Football Federation Carolina Challengers are a Pop-Warner flag football and cheering program for kids with disabilities ages 5 to 18.  The Challengers serve the greater Triangle area, including Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston counties. And for them, football is a lot more than just a game.

“They just get such a kick out of helping each other,” Coach Bo McCormick says.”The offensive team will score and the defense is over there give me to the high-fiving them for a great run or whatever they’re just really supportive of each other.”

The Apex Sports Authority and the Knights of Columbus Council #7186 hosted the game.

This week’s game is special as the Apex Sports Authority presented a check to the Challengers on behalf of the the Knights of Columbus Council #7186 to assist them towards their upcoming trip to the National Challenger Bowl Game in Orlando Florida at the Disney’s Wide World of Sports Resort.

The Challenger season usually runs from the first Saturday after Labor Day through October. Each Saturday, there is a combined practice and game. Registration is open June 1 to September 30 and is free.

“It’s really fun, I’m really glad to be here because it’s a good time for me to hang out and play football,” says athlete Connor Fullem.

There are also ‘buddies’ who can be a parent, sibling or friend of the participant.  The buddy must be at least 13 years old and non-family members will have to complete a volunteer application and will be subject to a criminal background check.  The association also has volunteer buddies for participants who need a buddy.

“I just love that they can have fun even though they have disabilities and can experience the fun of the game just much as I do,” says volunteer Ryan Jensen.

The team is still working to raise more money to go to the National Challenger Bowl. You can find more information online at

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