At Perry, all students are given the opportunity to play a sport without any barriers of entry. Recently added this year is the Unified Flag Football Team, establishing a new form of play for special needs students.
“It was so exciting,” Falcon United Champions Together program leader Maggie Cooper said. “It’s fun to see them working out there…practicing plays and having a better idea of what we are doing.”
The program is also involved with other sports, from basketball to bowling.
Cooper strives to continue to make the events more student body involved, adding more opportunities to showcase team members’ abilities, and continue promoting the inclusiveness at Perry. The team helps strengthen leadership skills, establish new friendships, and create a relationship with physical fitness.
Team member Abigail Kreuzman states, “Over the years seeing Brian Canfield be more open to trying new sports shows how much he’s grown because of these programs.”
There are two different types of team members. There are athletes, who have special needs, and partners, who are student-athletes helping guide the athletes on the field.
Kreuzman states, “Adding a flag football team is a huge deal because it shows how much the program has grown and it says a lot about the inclusion at Perry.”
Since the Unified Flag Football team is new this year, it became a learning process for everyone involved. The new sport gave students another opportunity to learn about a new game, rules, and the idea of flag football. The session started late, but the team was able to play one game and then compete in sectionals.
“We’re hoping next year we can get two or three games in sectionals, to continue to grow and have more partners and athletes on the team,” Cooper said.
The students are also hopeful for the growth of the program. “This year we had a lot of people do it, so I’m hoping next year we’ll have even more participation,” Kreuzman says.