Unified Sports holds soccer tournament
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Oct. 26, 2012
The Manchester High Unified Sports team joined five other high schools from throughout Connecticut for the Unified Sports 2012 Soccer Tournament, held at South Windsor High School on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Unified Sports is a Special Olympics program that gives people with intellectual disabilities a chance to practice and compete in athletic events. The program is partnered with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to bring Unified Sports teams to schools throughout Connecticut, including Manchester High School.
This is Gregg Oberlander's fourth year coaching the Unified team. “I love it,” he said. “I'm a special ed. teacher, so I work with these guys all day long. So they have to put up with me not only here but also in the classroom.”
In the Unified program, special education athletes are assisted by regular education students, who assist during practices and games. During the soccer tournament, three special education players and two regular education players from each team were on the field at all times, ensuring a fun and safe event.
Oberlander has seen the positive effect participating in Unified has on the students, as the involvement helps them feel more a part of the school community. The athletic department also helps the Unified team. "We get a lot of support from the athletic department," said Oberlander.