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Unified Basketball Debut Season Proves Rewarding

Unified Basketball Debut Season Proves RewardingJ thumbnail223486

John Glenn High School debuted its Unified Basketball team this year to great success, providing a unique opportunity for the student-athletes and inspiring the entire school community.

Sponsored by the Special Olympics, Unified Basketball was founded as an inclusive sports program in 2008, combining unified athletes with intellectual disabilities and unified partners without intellectual disabilities to form competitive teams at the high school level. In Unified Sports, students with disabilities are given the chance to interact with their peers who do not have a disability in a “typical” school experience, creating new friendships and building confidence and important social skills. Section XI currently holds a spring Unified Basketball league for Western Suffolk County school districts, consisting for a nine-week season that includes three home and three away games.

“The premise behind this team is that general education students will be working and playing basketball with special education students,” said Coach Charly Rogener, an experienced basketball coach who is also a certified special education teacher. “It is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: Training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

“We believe this program offers social, emotional, and physical health benefits for our students,” said Executive Director for Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services Eileen Kelly-Gorman.

"The first season of Unified Basketball was a tremendous success,” Athletic Director David Shanahan said. “The opportunity to start a new program was very rewarding for our coaches and our student-athletes.”

Date Added: 7/22/2022