Social Inclusion Through Sports
In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.
Young people with disabilities don’t often get a chance to play on their school sports teams, but more and more U.S. states are adopting the unified sports approach that Special Olympics pioneered. For almost 20 years, Special Olympics has offered sport teams that blend people with and without intellectual disabilities, and that is a model that encourages sports and fun, and which also gets people together to learn more about each other. You can learn more about unified sports and get involved with SOLA by clicking here.
We want you to become a Unified Partner! Join the hundreds that already have and experience the fun!
Unified Sports® is an inclusive sports program that combines an approximately equal number of Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and unified partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) on teams for training and competition. More info on Unified Sports here.
Being a partner is an additional means of carrying out and fulfilling the mission of Special Olympics. Teams are constructed in such a way as to provide training and competition opportunities that meaningfully challenge and involve all athletes. These opportunities often lead to improved sports skills, higher self-esteem, and equal status among peers and new friendships.
Register today to become a Unified Partner!
“I am a Special Olympics Athlete”, features, Special Olympics Louisiana athletes, coaches and unified partners coming together for the same message. (Video Produced and Edited by Tuck and Roll Media)
Below is a first-hand testimonial from one of our Unified Partners, Brodie Russo.
“When I was younger and in school I was judgmental and clowned about special needs people. But, man how wrong and misguided I was! Since joining Special Olympics 4 years ago my life has been forever changed! I learned how very “special” all of these athletes are. I have been touched by so many different situations and stories! When you see the smile on there faces and the heart that they show during competition, you would never know that they may have come from an extremely broken home. My heart has been
changed as well as my outlook on life! I could name a list of athletes that have personally touched my life, but I would be writing for days. I have made so many friends and have so many amazing memories! If you don’t know a person with special needs then meet one. If you are bored or have been looking for something new then come volunteer with Special Olympics and I promise you won’t regret it. Just know that God doesn’t make mistakes and he definitely made no mistakes when he made my friends. I challenge you to meet someone with a disability and truly get to know them because your life will never be the same after that!” ~Brodie Russo
Often times people think Special Olympics Louisiana is a one time sporting event for those with intellectual disabilities….however, we are MUCH more than that. This year alone we will host close to 100 competitions in various areas of Louisiana. We are not only for those with intellectual disabilities (our athletes) but we are for EVERYONE. Family members, coworkers, community members, etc. can be unified partners, coaches, volunteers, etc. No matter what the age, race, gender, etc. we have a spot for you! Don’t know where to start? Start here, you won’t regret it!
This past weekend in Carencro, LA we had close to 400 athletes participate in aquatics, horseshoes and softball. It was a great weekend with lots of highlights! Friday night included: Chuck Childress from 106.7FM served as Master of Ceremonies, Maria Placer, Executive Director 232-HELP/ LA211 was Honorary Chair, Honorary Coach was Tony Robichaux, ULL Head Baseball Coach and the Grand Marshal was John Boudreaux, State Deputy-Knights of Columbus. Lighting the “Flame of Hope” was Special Olympics Louisiana Southwest athlete Lori Burr (pictured on the right alongside her unified partner). On Saturday, the athletes enjoyed participating in Olympic Town and Healthy Athletes. Several of our young athletes (ages 2 – 7) enjoyed the Healthy Athletes venues as well. To top it all off they enjoyed a victory dance on Saturday night!