Toyota High School Athlete of the Week- Brandon Pearman inspires at Nottingham

Brandon Pearson celebrates after a video celebrating his football prowess was played at Nottingham (Quindell Williams)

Brandon Pearman played for Nottingham junior varsity football this year.

Why is that special? Because Pearman is special.

Brandon has down syndrome, but that didn't stop him from being a part of the Bulldogs.

Most impressively, he wasn't a manager or in a role that was more symbolic than anything else like you might see with special-needs team members.

No, Pearman actually suited up and played for the Bulldogs this year.

Certainly, a telling moment to describe Bulldogs Football.

“I think all the things that they get from being an incredible football team will translate to their future" says Brendiss Pearman, Brandon's mother.

"I just want to encourage them. I want to show them that you can celebrated for doing positive things. What’s the saying about attention? Any attention is good attention. No, like negative attention is not good and this is where the attention should be on kids doing the right thing.”

Brendiss, of course, is referring to the recent rash of violence in Syracuse especially involving young people. To many people it paints a negative picture of the Syracuse community.

Enter the Bulldogs, representing Syracuse City schools with pride and the utmost integrity.

These players are primarily 14-15 years old, an age known for bullying and harassment for "different" people.

Nottingham Football bucks that trend, including Brandon on its team. So Brendiss threw the squad a party Thursday at Nottingham's cafeteria as a show of support and appreciation.

An appreciation a lifetime in the making.

“It was surreal. When I gave birth to Brandon, I did not know he would have down syndrome. He was 3 years old we when got the news. So, I had to grieve a loss of a child I thought I would have before I could accept the child I was giving. And then, there were all these unknowns. What will he be like? What will he be able to do? What will his limitations be? And he has none. So, for the boys to see that and actually allow him to be his full self on the field, not the water-boy, on the field I don’t even know if I have a word for for the feeling.”

That might just sum it up.

So too, will Brandon's courage and bright smile.

Because remember Brandon Pearman was on JV this year, so a bright future with his accepting and fantastic teammates still lies ahead.

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