Students of all abilities come together for first Lee County Unified Sports Basketball Game

It’s more than just a basketball game.

Students from Three Oaks Middle School are taking part in a first of its kind game in Lee County: the first Unified Sports Basketball Game.

From the first basket made, and the first one missed, students of all shapes, sizes and abilities enjoyed an action-packed game at Three Oaks Middle School.

First Lee County Unified Sports Basketball Game (WINK News)

Unified Sports is the name of this basketball game. This program brings kids with intellectual disabilities and kids who do not together on one team.

“It’s more than just sports,” said Don Payne, the Lee County coordinator for Special Olympics. “It’s all about the school understanding that it’s about inclusion acceptance understanding.”

First Lee County Unified Sports Basketball Game (WINK News)

“It was awesome,” said Marissa Fischer. “I did fantastic out there!”

Chloe Brown usually plays soccer and runs track. But on Wednesday, she was all about the baskets.

“Sometimes they get made fun of a lot and to see them get so happy playing a sport, it makes me happy,” said Brown.

Tara Williams and Britt Lebeau made today happen.

First Lee County Unified Sports Basketball Game (WINK News)

“It’s really special for my students because otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to play basketball,” said Lebeau.

“Definitely emotional when we saw them score their first basket,” said. “It was so exciting!”

“Right now, we’re at 26 schools doing unified sports in Lee County, where two years ago, it was zero,” said Payne.

And now that these games have started, just try to stop them!

Special Olympics foots the bill for these unified sports games, but clearly, everyone benefits.

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
Writer:Briana Harvath
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