Former NFL star, wife on raising kids with autism and plans to build home for them

Sports

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (NewsNation Now) — A former Seattle Seahawks star and his wife are facing a concern other parents of adult children with disabilities share: what happens when the parents are gone?

Former running back Curt Warner and his wife Ana are working to build a bright future for their sons.

The couple said they initially struggled to raise twin boys with autism and it became even more challenging when a fire destroyed their home.

NewsNation spoke with Curt and Ana about the challenges of raising kids on the spectrum, their book and their faith.

Watch the interview in the player above.

Building a bright future for their sons

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Curt and Ana wrote a book a few years ago called “The Warner Boys” to share the story of their twins, Christian and Austin, who both have autism.

“It took us a while to start talking about it because we were in the struggle for days and a day seems like a year — seemed like a long time we were dealing with multiple issues,” said Curt.

The twins banged their heads on the floor and punched holes in the wall. One of the boys burned down the family’s home in Camas.

The former Seattle Seahawks running back withdrew from the public eye to concentrate on his family, which includes two other children.

Christian Warner and Austin Warner. (Courtesy of Warner Family)

“We didn’t want to wait for something to happen to us, for the state to take over and put them in group home and didn’t want to leave our oldest and youngest with the financial burden of taking care of them,” said Ana.

The Warners heard about Sunridge Ranch in Ellensburg, Washington, which has homes with four adults each. The nearby Trellis Center provides jobs and social opportunities.

“We met the guys in the first house and they were going out bowling and they were going to movies and a lot of the students from Central University are part of the Trellis Center so these guys have a life,” said Ana.

The Warners decided they wanted to follow the Sunridge Ranch model. A friend donated a fixer-upper Ellensburg home where the Warners hope their boys will live with two other adults, as well as a house parent. But Curt, who played before multimillion-dollar contracts were common in the NFL, says it’s humbling to ask for help.

“We love them dearly and we want what’s best for them so we’re going to continue to move forward on this,” he said.

The Warners have been married almost 31 years and their focus right now as parents is planning a safe and happy future for Austin and Christian and also their other two kids.

A GoFundMe for the house has raised more than $26,000 of the $200,000 goal.

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