Connecticut is a national leader in Unified Sports. The Special Olympics program pairs up an equal number of student athletes with intellectual disabilities with athletes without intellectual disabilities. The athletes are matched for training and competition and then it’s game on.
The Hartford Courant has spent several months talking with athletes, families and administrators and will feature a special two-day report starting in this Sunday’s paper.
This morning Beau Doherty, president of Special Olympics Connecticut, and Hartford Courant sports writer, Lori Rriley, join the Fox CT Morning Extra to talk more about the incredible program.
In 1992, as part of an effort to reach student athletes, Connecticut Special Olympics formed a partnership with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to bring Unified Sports to Connecticut schools. The CIAC/Special Olympics Unified Sports Program operates throughout the school year and closely follows the school calendar. Unified Sports events are organized each sport season for elementary, middle and high school students. All public and parochial schools in Connecticut are invited to participate. At the elementary level, students engage in non-competitive athletic activities designed to develop skills in a variety of sports. At the middle and high school level, students compete in statewide Unified Sports tournaments. The CIAC currently holds tournaments in the sports of soccer, basketball, volleyball, and softball. And, as the program continues to grow, new sports are sure to be added.
Unified Sports is a registered program of Special Olympics that combines approximately equal numbers of athletes with and without intellectual disability on sports teams for training and competition. All Unified Sports players, both athletes and special partners, are of similar age and matched sport skill ability. Unified Sports teams are placed in competitive divisions based on their skill abilities, and range from training divisions (with a skill-learning focus) to high level competition.
For more information, visit the website: www.SOCT.org.