The Special Olympics is an annual event held around the world where athletes with disabilities are celebrated as they compete. Special Olympics provides a stage to show off their talents in a wide variety of sports. Individual states and counties across the country host Special Olympics with events of their choosing.
The Carroll County Special Olympics offers sports including aquatics, basketball, powerlifting, soccer, and track and field. Stevenson student-athletes, coaches, and other athletic staff members will represent the university as volunteers for the Spring Games.
The mission of the organization, according to its website, is to “provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for citizens with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”
Sophomore JT Klopcic, a member of the track team, is Stevenson’s liaison between the Special Olympics and Mustang volunteers.
“I hope to further build the brand for Stevenson athletics and assist the special needs community,” he said. This will be his first year volunteering in the Spring Games.
Sophomore Patrick Najmola, an end on the football team, is not a newcomer to the annual event. Najmola said last year’s games were full of fun.
“Last year I helped with the softball toss, but they usually put you wherever they need you. Could be handing out medals. You could be helping with the sprints,” he said.
With an event held annually, many people volunteer as well as make donations to the Special Olympics.
“We usually send at least 30 people, but Stevenson people are not the only ones who volunteer. I know a couple high schools in the area that help out,” said Najmola. “The Special Olympics are open to all volunteers to come and support the special needs community,” he added.
“Me, personally, I look forward to helping the kids. We all do it for the kids,” said Najmola.
The Carroll County Special Olympics Spring Games were scheduled to be held on April 26, but due to inclement weather, they have been rescheduled for Friday, April 28, at Westminster High School in Westminster, Maryland.