Bringing unified sports to Concord High School

NOW: Bringing unified sports to Concord High School

CONCORD, Ind.-- Local students with special needs have a new opportunity to play sports at Concord High School, which announced a new unified sports program Thursday.

"Unified sports are where we bring together our students with intellectual disabilities, and our traditional students, to compete together on the athletic field," said Concord teacher Ryan Culp.

Unified sports are headed to Concord High School, through the program "Champions Together," from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, and the Special Olympics.

Ryan Culp was chosen to lead this group at Concord. 

"Being a parent of a special needs child myself, he's now 21 years old, we know as parents how important it is to have our children involved in school," he said.

But not just in a special ed classroom, he said, but in the building, interacting with other students, perhaps even playing sports.

"They, as much as anybody else, want to be included and to share those types of experiences as well," Culp said.

The program is kicking off with a group of about 30 student leaders, helping recruit students, fundraise, and educate others about unified sports.

"So, I'm an athlete myself, and I've grown up playing sports throughout my whole life, and I love that competitive edge, that desire, you know, just the love of sports," said Concord senior Andrew Kavanagh. "And I know there's kids out there who have that same thing but might not have the same opportunity in these sports, so joining this program allows me to give them the equal opportunity I had."

"I get that experience for myself, and I want other kids to be able to experience that for themselves too," said Concord senior Danielle Aplin. "Just everything that Concord's teams have brought me, I want other kids who don't have that opportunity at all times to be able to feel that same thing I felt all these four years here."

And starting next Spring, the first unified track team should be set to compete.

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