KSHSAA Partners with Special Olympics Unified Sports®

Published 05/10/2021

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TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) will partner with Special Olympics Kan­sas (SOKS) to encourage and develop Unified Bowling through school memberships in Kansas.

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an inclusive activities program that combines an approximately equal number of Special Olympics students with intellectual disabilities and students without intellectual disabilities on teams for competition and inclu­sive activities fostering an environment of social inclusion.

“Unified Sports® creates opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities to participate on school teams with main­streamed student-athletes,” KSHSAA Executive Director Bill Faflick said. “Adding Unified Bowling as a KSHSAA sponsored championship activity benefits not only the student with disabilities, but just as importantly, the partner students and entire school community.”

Through this partnership, KSHSAA will support and conduct Unified Bowling for member schools with expert guidance from SOKS. This new, statewide program will create opportunities for students across Kansas to have increased opportunities for whole-school meaningful inclusion and leadership activities. Starting with the 2021-22 school year, Unified Bowling will annu­ally begin in Standard Calendar Week #13 and conclude with a state tournament during Standardized Calendar Week #20. Uni­fied Bowling will operate like any other KSHSAA activity with all participants meeting individual eligibility requirements.

“This action by KSHSAA is a recognition that ALL students derive unique benefits from education-based athletics,” said Dr. John Johnson, Shawnee Mission South High School Athletic Director. “We are extremely excited that this action allows more students to represent and compete for their school. The social interaction and life lessons that athletics provide add tremendous value to our students, their families and our community."

“We are extremely thankful to KSHSAA for taking this huge step forward for the inclusion of people with disabilities in inter­scholastic sports in Kansas,” said John Lair, SOKS President/CEO. “High school sports are a significantly impactful activity for individuals, schools and communities, and now we’ve involved even more people statewide.”

About KSHSAA

The Kansas State High School Activities Association is a non-profit organization supported by more than 700 member schools. KSHSAA and its member schools promote, develop, and direct interscholastic activities to contribute to a well-rounded and meaningful educational experience. The positive values of competition and good sportsmanship for both participants and spec­tators are continually encouraged. More information at www.kshsaa.org.

About Special Olympics Kansas

Special Olympics Kansas is dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, produc­tive and respected members of society through sports competitions, health and nutrition programs and leadership development. Offering year-round initiatives to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics Kansas is a platform for acceptance and inclusion as well as one of the largest advocates for healthy lifestyles in the state – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or cultural differences. More information at www.ksso.org.