What is Unified Sports?
A Unified Schools Story
Katie Shinkle, a senior at Murray High School and a bowling Unified Partner, sent coach Chuck Williams this great text message after the State Bowling Tournament. They said we could share it with you:
“Hey Mr. Chuck I just wanted to thank you sooooo much for this opportunity! I had so much fun! what you guys do is truly amazing and this year has really opened my eyes. Before this year I didn’t really interact with William and all them but now I couldn’t picture my life without any of them!! I’m so thankful that I got to really meet everybody like I did and get a little closer to them:) I feel like we’re all a big family & I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
Katie and her partner Hannah Babcock
Unified Sports is a program that combines approximately equal number of Special Olympics athletes with athletes without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Age and ability of athletes and partners is specifically defined on a sport by sport basis.
Unified Sports is an important program because it expands sports opportunities for athletes and partners seeking new challenges. In addition, Unified Sports dramatically increases inclusion in the community be helping to break down barriers that have historically kept people with and without intellectual disabilities.
- Track & Field
Benefits of Unified Champion Schools:
Public Education – Unified Sports increases public awareness of the spirit, skills, and abilities of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Transition and Choice – Unified Sports programs help schools meet transition mandates and provide a choice for players in and out of Special Olympics
Family Involvement – Siblings of Special Olympics athletes are provided a valuable opportunity to participate as partners or coaches.
Personal Development – Team members tend to improve their self-esteem, develop friendships, and gain an understanding of each other’s capabilities through a spirit of equality and team unity.