Over 400 families and all freshman student-athletes gathered in Memorial Stadium for the 10thAnniversary of Husker Heroes this past Sunday. Sponsored by Nebraska Athletics Life Skills and the ONE Coalition (Organizations Networking for Everyone with Special Needs), guests included both youth and adults from a variety of organizations that support those with special needs across the state of Nebraska. The event provided an opportunity for individuals with disabilities and their families to interact and play sport-related games with Husker student-athletes, kicking off the new school year.
 
"Getting to interact and play with the kids was a lot of fun. This event definitely made me grateful for the platform we have as student-athletes and for the chance to serve families in the Nebraska community," said Makinzie Short, freshman soccer player from Colorado. Short was one of more than 150 student-athletes taking part in the festivities. 
 
For many student-athletes serving on Sunday, this was their first chance to participate in community service as a Husker. Senior Associate Athletic Director, Keith Zimmer, noted how important events like this are for both the community and student-athletes alike. "Nebraska Life Skills coordinates hundreds of outreach events annually and Husker Heroes is one of the most genuine, heartwarming, feel-good events imaginable. Husker Heroes is the perfect introduction to service for our incoming student-athletes and typically the positive experience within this event lights a fire to serve throughout their Husker career and beyond," said Zimmer. 
 
Luke Boynton, a freshman baseball player from Georgia, was one of the student-athletes who had the chance to connect with families on Sunday. Boynton shared, "It was a great experience and one that was new for me. I'm really looking forward to participating in more of these types of service opportunities in the future."
 
Organizations involved with the ONE Coalition and present at Husker Heroes include the Autism Center of Nebraska/ACN Connections, Autism Family Network, The Arc of Lincoln, Autism Society of Nebraska, Down Syndrome Advocates in Action NE, Down Syndrome Association for Families of NE, Dreams Unlimited, Horses for Healing, Nebraska Spina Bifida, United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska, Wonderfully Made, and Windsong Equitherapy.