BALTIMORE, Md. — Adriano Dos Santos has played for the Baltimore Blast for over a decade. This weekend he will experience a game like never before.
"It’s a very special night for my family, for me, for my kid as well," he said.
On Saturday the Blast will hold its first autism awareness night when they host Utica at Towson’s SECU Arena. The evening will hold special meaning for Dos Santos. His 6-year-old son, Dominic, is autistic.
"He is very hype. He likes to play around the house and go outside just like everybody else," said the Blast defender. "He likes soccer. He is very lovable, very sweet."
According to the CDC, 1 in 44 children in the United States has autism, which is defined as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Dos Santos sees this weekend as a teaching tool.
"They are normal people. You got to include them. People have to understand, even teach your kids that they are normal. No need to treat them different. So, for me, that’s what I want everybody to understand - respect because everybody is different."
The Blast will be wearing special autism awareness jerseys on Saturday night. They will be up for auction throughout the game. The proceeds from the auction will go to Pathfinders for Autism.
"I can’t wait to wear the jersey. I can’t wait for [Dominic] to see me with the jersey," said Dos Santos. "So, it will be a special night. We hope we can win the game and make the night very special for all the people that will be there."
For Dominic most of all.