Special Olympics Maryland athletes break down barriers
FRUITLAND, Md. – With every kick and and cheer off the field, athletes across Maryland are learning that there is no disability that can stop them from achieving great things.
“It makes me feel great, be proud,” said Jabar Lovette, an athlete from Baltimore City.
“It keeps me focused and going,” said Andrew Thomas, an athlete from Salisbury.
It is all part of Special Olympics Maryland and on Sunday more than 400 athletes from across the state competed at their soccer state championship.
“Man, my team was so tough,” said Lovette.
“They got to work in both defense and offense,” said Lovette.
“All these guys are so unique and what’s really cool is when you can take all their uniqueness and put them into a team and watch them play,” said Cindy Mitchell, a parent.
Andrew’s mom, Gail Nutter, says these sort of events teach her son how to overcome his battle against autism.
“When he first started he was more in the background, but now I see him he’s out there, he’s been a little more assertive,” said Nutter.
It is also a chance for these players to discover new abilities and even make friendships along the way.
“Sports is one of those things that just kind of transcends and breaks down barriers,” said Special Olympics Maryland Chief Development and Marketing Officer, Nate Garland.
Cindy Mitchell says her 27-year-old son Kyle struggles with communication, but she says this sport is finally changing the game for him.
“Kyle’s disability is a little bit of everything, and his biggest disability is his speech,” said Mitchell, “It’s hard for him to understand.”
“He now works with a team and controls his emotions at work, so therefore he’s asked to come in extra,” said Mitchell.
According to Garland, players represented 13 counties including Saint Mary’s and Montgomery County.
Garland adds that 200 Salisbury University students volunteered their time to make this event a reality.
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