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News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

Unified Special Olympics encourages unity and inclusivity

Elsie Bland
The Special Olympics basketball team plays against CHS staff at a home game.

Throughout January and February, CHS held a series of basketball games known as the Unified Special Olympics. This team was coached by Sarah Shea, who spent nine weeks training her athletes.

The past few weeks for Shea’s team were very active. The practices she held occurred every Wednesday for an hour, preparing her team for the games they had coming up. Since CHS was one of only a handful of schools that participated in the Special Olympics, there were obstacles that stood in the way of playing games.

“The obstacle was finding other teams to play against, but I do think the idea of unified sports is slowly spreading in the area,” Shea said.

Shea typically teaches in a classroom environment and is used to teaching her students verbally. Since Shea used to play basketball herself, she was ready to make the jump to a sports environment and start teaching her students physical skills.

“My favorite part is seeing kids come out of their shell,” Shea said. “As a teacher, you have a different relationship, but then when you’re playing sports with them after school, it brings a new type of relationship.”

Unified sports promote inclusivity and give everybody a chance to play on a team. CHS participating in unified sports has spread awareness to other schools about inclusivity, especially in a sports setting.

“The games are super fun because they get their friends from school cheering them on, and they don’t really get that anywhere else,” Shea said.

Unified sports have helped many students by being on teams where the main goal is to foster inclusion. Pubmed Central stated that playing on a school sports team decreases depression and anxiety by 17% for those playing at an adolescent age.

“There’s something special about when you’re playing with each other and working together for a common goal,” Shea said. “It really builds friendship in a natural way.”

Unified sports was established in 2008 for the sole purpose of finding new friendships and expanding the court to those with and without disabilities. Having schools participate in unified sports has spread a message about inclusion worldwide.

“Something that’s unique to unified sports is the bigger meaning, kind of behind playing in the game,” Shea said. “It’s inclusion.”

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About the Contributor
Maddy Daly
Maddy Daly, Social Media Editor
Maddy is a sophomore and in her second year in journalism. In her free time, she figure skates and plays volleyball.

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