Parents Of Child With Down Syndrome Didn’t Listen To ‘Can’t’ Or ‘Won’t’
Debbie and Frank Antonelli were warned they'd have a long battle in front of them when their son was born with Down syndrome. But where some people might have seen limits, they saw potential.
The Washington Post:
Going On Offense Vs. Down Syndrome
The dogging question for any athlete is whether their competitive values mean anything in the real world. Here it was for Debbie and Frank Antonelli. What were all the sweat-soaked shirts and the worn-soled sneakers for when their infant son was on oxygen, facing a lifetime of impairments from slowed motor skills to cognitive deficits? It was a random error in cell division, the pediatric specialist said. Down syndrome was an accident, a faulty extra copy of a single chromosome. “All the rest of them are yours,” he said. They had counted with an unthinking confidence on having healthy kids, maybe even a team roster’s worth. She played basketball at North Carolina State before becoming a sportscaster, and he hit .400 for the Columbia University baseball team before making a career in elite sports management, and they hoped to add some quality little strivers to the general population. Their first child was an easy birth, and they were so confident of their second that she played nine holes of golf the day he was born. Then he came out scrunched up with the cord around his neck, and holes in his heart. (Jenkins, 3/2)