The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

August 3, 2013

Former Pineville, NFL star Warner shares stories about sons' autism

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Curt Warner hesitated and took a breath before stepping back to the podium following an encouraging pat on the back from his wife.

Talking about autism is tough on the former Seattle Seahawks and Penn State running back. But Warner says raising twin boys, both autistic, has been even tougher — more difficult than any 4th-and-1 run he’s ever had in his College Football Hall of Fame career.

Joined by his wife, Ana, and another son, Jonathan, Warner returned to his alma mater this week to deliver the closing address at the National Autism Conference. It was the first time the family appeared together to talk about the developmental disability affecting 19-year-old twins Austin and Christian.

“We are never going to give up on our boys,” Curt Warner said, drawing applause from the several hundred in attendance. “Never give up, never give in, but you learn to pray quite a bit.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines autism spectrum disorders as “a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges,” and says people with autism handle information in their brain differently from other people.

It took a little coaxing for Warner to share his experiences at the conference for educators and other professionals, as well as families.

The ability to visit oldest son Jonathan, 20, at Penn State helped. The younger Warner, a redshirt freshman receiver, starts training camp with the team on Monday.

“We can bring so much to the other families who are part of it,” Ana Warner said at a news conference after their talk. “You need to make it real. You have a child with autism and there are things you have to deal with.”

The Warner twins weren’t diagnosed until they were 5. Since then, programs to help kids and their families have increased in what Ana Warner viewed as a welcome, positive step.

The Warners relayed emotional stories, such as having a family member sleep by the door when on vacation to make sure the boys don’t wander.

“The most important thing with autism is you’ve got to have some faith,” Curt Warner said. “This is a struggle that doesn’t just end.”

Warner was a leader on Penn State’s 1982 national championship team. He went on to rush for more than 6,800 yards and 56 touchdowns in eight seasons in the NFL, mainly in Seattle.

1
Text Only
Other Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014

  • McClung moving from mound to dugout

    Seth McClung was getting his daughters Madison and Fallon inside and ready for their baths when his phone rang. He’s said before that he enjoys the role of “daddy day care.”

    April 15, 2014

  • First stop Waffle House; next stop The Greenbrier

    Bubba Watson decided to keep his post-Masters victory more low key this year. Instead of going to New York for a media tour, he headed home to Orlando, Fla., and kept plans for a five-day vacation with his wife.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pick 3: Cam Huffman's answers

    Is Mike D’Antoni the best hire for Marshall basketball if the Herd can land him?

    April 15, 2014

  • Pick 3: Gary Fauber's answers

    Is Mike D’Antoni the best hire for Marshall basketball if the Herd can land him?

    April 15, 2014