Ridgefield High School is excited to field its very first Special Olympics Unified basketball team this weekend. In Unified Sports, people with and without intellectual disabilities play together on the same team, promoting social inclusion and mutual respect. The RHS Special Olympics Unified basketball team will compete for the first time against Evergreen High School on Saturday, January 21. The game will be held at La Center Middle School at 1:00 p.m.
The Ridgefield High School team includes four special education students (athletes) and four general education students (partners). Head coach Ahlesha Fitzgerald explained that the general education students help the special education students with fundamentals of the sport while they’re on the court. Fitzgerald and assistant coach Christy Nord provide oversight and guidance for the entire team during practices and at games.
Young people with disabilities often don’t have the opportunity to participate in school sports. But Unified Sports are changing that. Over 1.6 million people compete in more than 30 different Unified Sports worldwide, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. Training and playing together serves as a path to friendship and greater understanding.
Good luck to the athletes and partners of the Ridgefield High School Special Olympics Unified basketball team!