Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Worth fighting for.(Final)

Byline: Isabel Sanchez Journal Staff Writer

Teen doesn't let Down syndrome hold him back from pursuing interests

Carson Proo has a cell phone, is learning to drive, hates math. He's a gymnast, goes to a charter school and wants to find someone who will teach him to play bluegrass on his mandolin.

Carson, 17 and on the verge of earning a black belt in karate, has already won a third-place trophy in a national karate contest. He's interested in Buddhism. He meditates in the lotus position, the one where your feet sit on your opposite knees.

He's also won trophies for his gymnastic performance in Special Olympics last year. The karate, which he's been practicing since age 7, helps him focus.

"I don't get nervous. I just do my best," he says.

Carson's father, Victor, says he stayed in a fetal position for about an hour after his son's birth. Then, he says, he was able to accept it, that Carson has Down syndrome.

The young man who practices his katas by watching videos of his karate class and who helps teach at the dojo, showing younger students how to warm up, couldn't crawl until he was 2. …

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