Downriver Panthers

        Sports and Activities for Individuals with Special Needs

The history of Downriver Panthers is an inspiring story of a dedicated visionary and a group of athletes that succeeded in overcoming their disabilities and went on to become sports champions.

Downriver Panthers were originally established by Jon Call in 1981 as a group of six athletes known as the Truman P.O. H. I (Physically or Otherwise Health Impaired) Panthers. Jon Call was an Occupational Therapist dedicated to involve students with physical abilities in sports activities and make it fun at the same time. The Panthers went on to compete with other teams across the state. Two of the Panthers, with Jon's coaching efforts even completed the 1987 New York Marathon!

As time went on, the team expanded their membership and range of activities under a new leader, Patrick Manick. Thanks to Patrick’s efforts, the Downriver Panthers became a vital community resource for people of different abilities in the Downriver area.