DENVER (KDVR) — A tough break for some Special Olympians from Colorado: Someone stole the flag football team’s uniforms, but another Colorado team stepped up to help.

The USA Games are similar to the Olympics and happen every four years, and athletes work extremely hard to be able to compete. Special Olympics Colorado athletes traveled many miles and trained for four years for a shot at a gold medal this week. 

However, after a thief stole thousands of dollars of team jerseys, it left their chance to compete in question. 

“Here at the USA Games, which is really the highest level that our athletes can compete at in this country,” said Megan Scremin, Special Olympics Colorado’s new President and CEO. “They’re representing their state and the country and it’s a big deal.”

Unfortunately, a thief in Aurora smashed the window of an employee’s jeep, taking all of the Special Olympics’ flag football jerseys inside. 

Teamwork helps Colorado Special Olympians make USA Games

Thinking their chances were sidelined, the organization put a post on Instagram hoping the thief would return them. But with no luck and the play clock running out, Special Olympics Colorado started calling their partners all across the state. 

“Heartbroken for them,” said Jordan Ivey, the assistant principal and athletic director at Ponderosa High School. “Besides everything that’s been going on and people not getting to go do fun stuff, but to hear that they may be put in jeopardy to be able to take part in this thing, and how are they been working for it? It’s really what made us figure out what we could do to help them out.”

In just a few hours, Ivey called up head football coach Jaron Cohen. Cohen said he had gathered up some old jerseys ready to be recycled. They were able to gather up all the sizes of each athlete and send them on their way.

Plus, they got the help of a local business to get the names of each athlete on each uniform.

“We’re rooting them on here from Colorado and in my heart. I feel like there’s a little bit of ‘Mustang country’ that’s out there with them,” Ivey said.  

Ponderosa High School athletics staff set a true example about what it means to be a team player.  

“[The Ponderosa Athletic Staff] understand that the lessons that these kids are learning on the field stretch far beyond just the athletic scope of stuff, and I would say the best thing we do is we live it out for them,” Ivey said. “In all honesty, the entire staff here at Ponderosa really live out what it means to be family and to jump in and help people out.” 

Special Olympics Colorado said unless their own jerseys are returned, they will return the replacement jerseys and invest in a commemorative jersey for the players with organization funds.