ESNP has an interesting video about Garrett, a young man with Down syndrome, and his training leading up to his first MMA fight.
Overall I thought they did a great job reporting this piece on Garrett, but I wish there wasn't the need to report that "Garrett is very highly functioning for someone with Down syndrome. He reads at the 3rd grade level and has the cognitive ability of an 8 or 9 year old." I didn't think that had relevance to his journey of participating in his first MMA fight. (The highly functioning for someone with Down syndrome bit I'll save for another blog post.)
I thought it was sad to hear that while growing up he didn't want to have friends, or associate with, any one who had Down syndrome or other disabilities. He didn't want to be called Garrett because Garrett was someone who has Down syndrome. We have talked to Kayla about having Down syndrome, she knows she has Ds, but I don't think at this point she grasps exactly what that means or how that affects her. I am trying to prepare myself that one day she may express being upset about having Down syndrome.
Garrett's father said a lot of people gave him a hard time for allowing Garrett to participate in this fight. I loved that he gave Garrett the opportunity. It's called the "dignity of risk" - “Dignity of risk” means respecting each individual’s autonomy and
self-determination (or “dignity”) to make choices for himself or
herself. Garrett trained for the fight and wanted to get in the ring; they found a fighter with the same height and build who agreed to fight him.
Garrett's reaction time isn't as quick as his opponent; I liked that his opponent didn't take advantage of that situation. He legitimately landed some punches and slams on Garrett ... as did Garrett to his opponent.
I thought the ending was a great wrap-up showing Garrett's journey of self-awareness and self-acceptance.