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Get unified: join the team!

Unified Sports teams exist worldwide as part of an initiative started by Special Olympics. They promote togetherness and understanding by putting athletes with and without intellectual disabilities together to practice and play. Around 50,000 athletes worldwide participate in these programs!

How can you get in on the action? Find out:

Find a team
Like the Special Olympics games, the Unified Sports teams are regulated on a state by state basis so go to the Special Olympics website of your state to find out specific info on the teams in your area. The teams consist of “partners” (people without intellectual disabilities) and “athletes” (people with intellection disabilities). On the site you can also find rule books, coaching guides, and info about nutrition, safety and fitness!

The games
The Unified Sports games consist of teams where the partners and athletes are seen as equals and have the same responsibilities. You have a ton of options when it comes to choosing a game you want to play. Right now they offer basketball, bowling, cycling, distance running, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. For 2009 they even added Taekwondo! How cool?

Get support
Get athletes at your school involved! Put up posters in your school’s gym and give announcements to all the sports teams about this opportunity. Recruit friends with and without intellectual disabilities—this game is for everyone!

Next step
Now that you’ve tried your hand at playing, why not take the next step? Ever wanted to coach? Some states have Unified Sports as well as a mentoring program. In the mentoring level the partners are there for the athletes as coaches. Check to see which programs your state offers!
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