Tulane University Special Olympics Recognized by ESPN as National Top 5 Program


Newswise – Tulane University’s Special Olympic (TUSO) program has reached new heights with a pair of national accolades for its meaningful and inclusive work with Special Olympic athletes. ESPN selected the TUSO program as one of the top 5 unified Special Olympics sports groups in the nation and also named TUSO to its Honor Roll 2021, which features the top 25 schools from across the country.

Tulane was one of three universities recognized on the ESPN 2021 Honor Roll, joining Florida State University and Texas Christian University.

ESPN’s Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is a kindergarten through college program that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without developmental disabilities to create tolerant environments. The heart of this program is the Unified Special Olympics sports and activities where students of all skill levels play on the same court and on the same court. With sport as its foundation, the three-component model of Unified Champion Schools offers a unique combination of effective activities that give young people the tools and training to create sports, classrooms and school climates of acceptance.

Gabe Feldman, Sher Garner Professor of Sports Law, Director of Tulane Sports Law Program and co-founder and co-director of the Tulane Sports Center, is also the director of Special Olympics in New Orleans.

“We are honored to receive this recognition. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Tulane students and Special Olympics athletes who have come together to capture and celebrate the spirit of competition and inclusion that is such a key part of Special Olympics and sports. unified. We share this recognition with the Goldman family. Their unwavering support has enabled us to deliver programs of this caliber to so many deserving athletes. We are delighted to continue to develop our unified sport programs and to continue to strive to create a better world by fostering acceptance and inclusion for all, ”said Feldman.

Senior Sarah Donato is the current President of the Tulane Special Olympics Club and has overseen club events during the current pandemic. Donato said the group had thrived despite the restrictions and was delighted to be back in person this fall for the Tulane-Special Olympics Intramural Unified Flag Football League and swimming practices.

“We are very grateful for the growth we have seen in our program over the past few years. Even throughout the pandemic, we have maintained a close connection with the local community of people with intellectual disabilities. Our practices and events are a vital source of positivity for everyone involved, and we are delighted to see the growing presence of Special Olympics on campus. We are touched by this honor and look forward to continuing to create an inclusive community accessible to all, ”said Donato.

Before the pandemic, TUSO offered swimming, tennis, track and field and basketball, and organized unified flag football leagues, fall and spring basketball leagues, and a field day. , where athletes and volunteers could play together. TUSO has been able to offer virtual practices and expanded programming during the current pandemic. According to Donato, the workouts were divided by sport, and many workouts were similar and well attended by many athletes.

The Tulane Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round athletic training competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with developmental disabilities, providing them with opportunities continue to build fitness, show courage, experience joy and participate in sharing gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

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