Unified Sports in Connecticut

 

Unified Sports provides opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in extracurricular athletics. Each athlete has a partner, a student without disabilities, and they support one another. Courant photographer Cloe Poisson explains what impressed her about the program: ”While covering two events recently – a volleyball tournament and a track meet – I was amazed at the level of support and enthusiasm from both partners and athletes alike.  There was a true sense of unity among all participants and unconditional support for the athletes by the partners and families. Bonds are formed and friendships are made as partners and athletes train together. The inclusive atmosphere was very heartwarming to see, and high-fives and smiles abounded throughout the events.”

 

Partner Vinny Pizzagalli (left) runs with athlete Brian Murphy in the 4X100 event at the Southern Connecticut Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School Thursday, May 30, 2013. Pizzagalli and Murphy are from Daniel Hand High School. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Partner Vinny Pizzagalli (left) runs with athlete Brian Murphy in the 4X100 event at the Southern Connecticut Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School Thursday, May 30, 2013. Pizzagalli and Murphy are from Daniel Hand High School. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Alicia Pegg, 17, a Unified Sports athlete, (center) cheers on team members during a game at the Unified Sports volleyball tournament at Branford High School on Thursday, 05/09/2013. Partner Shelly Knecht, 17, is at left and athlete Melissa Lowell, 17, is at right watching the game with Pegg. They are students at Mark T. Sheehan High School in Wallingford. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Alicia Pegg, 17, a Unified Sports athlete, (center) cheers on team members during a game at the Unified Sports volleyball tournament at Branford High School on Thursday, May 9, 2013. Partner Shelly Knecht, 17, is at left and athlete Melissa Lowell, 17, is at right watching the game with Pegg. They are students at Mark T. Sheehan High School in Wallingford. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Unified Sports in Connecticut

Unified sports athlete Fazal Samad takes the baton from his partner Ray Larson during the 2×50 relay race at Southington High School for a Unified Track and Field Meet on Monday, May 20, 2013. Samad and Larson are from East Hartford High. Photo by JOHN WOIKE | woike@courant.com

Eleventh grader, Cheyenne Summer, left, and her partner, senior Fatima Bishtawi, celebrate a basket during a Unified Sports basketball game between Middletown High School and RHAM, on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. RICHARD MESSINA | rmessina@courant.com

Eleventh grader, Cheyenne Summer, left, and her partner, senior Fatima Bishtawi, celebrate a basket during a Unified Sports basketball game between Middletown High School and RHAM, on Tuesday, January 22, 2013.
RICHARD MESSINA | rmessina@courant.com

Two athletes from West Haven High School run together as they are cheered on by a partner (right) during the Southern Connecticut Conference Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School Thursday, May 30, 2013. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Two athletes from West Haven High School run together as they are cheered on by a partner during the Southern Connecticut Conference Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School Thursday, May 30, 2013. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Oxford High Unified Sports athlete Emily Soss, left, celebrates with partner Sydney Mandeville during a volleyball tournament at Branford High School. Soss and Mandeville are students at Oxford High School. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Oxford High Unified Sports athlete Emily Soss, left, celebrates with partner Sydney Mandeville during a volleyball tournament at Branford High School. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

 The Newington High School Unified Sports basketball team huddles before taking the court in the second half of the Division 2 Unified State Basketball Championship at Windsor High School Friday, March 1, 2013. BRAD HORRIGAN | bhorrigan@courant.com

The Newington High School Unified Sports basketball team huddles before taking the court in the second half of the Division 2 Unified State Basketball Championship at Windsor High School on Friday, March 1, 2013.
BRAD HORRIGAN | bhorrigan@courant.com

Nick Oropallo is excited after singing the National Anthem during the opening ceremonies of the Unified Sports track meet at Southington High School Monday, May 20, 2013. JOHN WOIKE | jwoike@courant.com

Nick Oropallo is excited after singing the National Anthem during the opening ceremonies of the Unified Sports track meet at Southington High School Monday, May 20, 2013. JOHN WOIKE | jwoike@courant.com

Alex Beckett, a Unified Sports athlete from Guilford High School, hangs out with his partner, Thom Heller, during the Southern Connecticut Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School Thursday, May 30, 2013. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Alex Beckett, a Unified Sports athlete from Guilford High School, hangs out with his partner, Thom Heller, during the Southern Connecticut Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School Thursday, May 30, 2013. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Newington Unified Basketball team's Markiet Cameron drives to the basket against the East Hartford Unified team during the Division 2 Unified State Basketball Championship at Windsor High School Friday, March 1, 2013.  BRAD HORRIGAN | bhorrigan@courant.com

Newington Unified Basketball team’s Markiet Cameron drives to the basket against the East Hartford Unified team during the Division 2 Unified State Basketball Championship at Windsor High School Friday, March 1, 2013. BRAD HORRIGAN | bhorrigan@courant.com

Unified Sports partners cheer from the sidelines as athlete Kristin Connolly, from Jonathan Law High School in Milford, takes part in the 2X25 event, with help from paraprofessional Vanessa Aranda, at the Southern Connecticut Conference Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

Unified Sports partners cheer from the sidelines as athlete Kristin Connolly, from Jonathan Law High School in Milford, takes part in the 2X25 event, with help from paraprofessional Vanessa Aranda, at the Southern Connecticut Conference Unified Sports track meet at West Haven High School. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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2 Responses to Unified Sports in Connecticut

  1. Rob Brolley says:

    Great Pictures! This is the meaning of,”PURE SPORT”!!!

  2. Ann Malafronte says:

    It is so wonderful to have a program like Unified Sports recognized, and featured by the Courant! We are weary of shootings, tornados and war stories and images. These wonderful high school teenagers and making strides that were only dreamt about fifty years ago! Ct is leading the way and assisting other states to open the gym door for youngsters with special needs. We learn from each other and both benefit! Thank you!