Unified Sports is uniting students with and without disabilities by combining team efforts and allowing them to compete together in some sports.
There are many gains students receive from sports participation. Teamwork, coping with adversity, and seeing the results of hard work are just some of the advantages. When sports turn into a win-at-all-costs pursuit, the benefits for individual athletes can be lost.
When students work together regardless of their abilities, good things result, and not just wins for the team. At Wayne High School in Wayne, Nebraska, Unified Sports is part of a national program which allows all students to have a complete sports experience, reduces bullying, and allows students to knock down barriers and misconceptions. Students meet on the bowling team, working together.
“Helping someone with special needs takes patience, you learn how to interact with people they might be uncomfortable around,” said senior Taylor Gamble, one of seven mainstream volunteer students. “I think kids can learn about taking the time and getting to know other people.”