Hannah and Friends Football Clinic With Charlie Weis and the Kansas Football Team Held Saturday

March 9, 2013


LAWRENCE, Kan. – Rainy skies hovered over Lawrence Saturday morning, but everything seemed bright and sunny inside Anschutz Pavilion as the Hannah and Friends Football Clinic with Charlie Weis and the Kansas football team was held in conjunction with athletes from Special Olympics.

A total of 80 athletes from Special Olympics chapters throughout the state of Kansas came to Lawrence for a morning of football drills with the Jayhawk staff and players in the first ever such event hosted by Hannah and Friends, the non-profit organization founded by Weis and his wife, Maura, to create awareness and compassion for adults and children with special needs.

Each KU football player was paired up with a Special Olympian and the pairs traveled through 10 different stations where they participated in various drills that included passing, receiving, blocking, punting, tackling and various agility drills. A final station included each athlete getting a photo taken with their KU football player partner and Big Jay. Also assisting with the event were members of the newly created University of Kansas student organization Hannah and Jayhawk Friends.

Although the event was created for the Special Olympians, the Jayhawk football players gained just as much from the experience.

“We’re trying to have a lasting impression because everything they’re dealing with, they might have to deal with that for the rest of their life,” said junior defensive lineman Keon Stowers. “And if we can take just an hour out of our day to come here and play with them, I’ll do it all day.”

Junior quarterback Jake Heaps felt experiences like Saturday help give student-athletes a new perspective on their hectic lives.

“When you have the opportunity to forget about all the football stuff, and really in our daily lives we’re focused on lifting and schoolwork and all the stresses of football that comes with being a student-athlete,” said Heaps. “But when you have the opportunity to be around special individuals who have so much life and energy and charisma, it’s so much fun to put a smile on their face and make their day. It takes you to a whole different perspective.”

Following the clinic, the Jayhawks held their third practice of the 2013 spring season and their first in full pads. KU will hold 11 more spring practices and then will conclude the spring season with the annual Spring Game which will be held at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m.

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