BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The Raleigh County Special Olympics basketball and cheerleading teams are heading to Buffalo High School this weekend to participate in a basketball tournament. Events like this help these athletes grow in a lot of different ways.
Special Olympics is an organization that gives handicapped athletes an opportunity to learn new skills and play on a team that they might not get in a school setting.
Buster Broadnax has been coaching these athletes for years and is glad they have this outlet.
“They wouldn’t get this in a regular school, and that is why the Special Olympics means a lot to a lot of kids in the neighborhood especially in Raleigh County,” Broadnax said.
When these players go through the special olympics program they becoming mentally and physically stronger. They are getting training and going through motions that a lot of these athletes would be getting in physical therapy.
Lisa Matherly the Director of Raleigh County Special Olympics has watched these athletes get stronger over the years.
“They’re capable now of throwing further. If they couldn’t make a basket before, they are making baskets now, they have grown with each one of the programs they have participated in,” Matherly said.
The basketball tournament this weekend, Saturday, February 15, 2020, brings out a lot in these players, and although they want to walk away with the gold medal there are other ways they can win.
“Friendship, friendship is the best thing in the world for these kids and they make friends. Believe it or not, after halftime and when the game is over you’ll find them sitting out in the lobby eating lunch together and talking,” Broadnax said.
Coach Buster knows these athletes are just as capable as any other basketball player. He does not see them any different. “They aren’t handicapped they are regular kids just a little bit slower than we are,” Broadnax said.
Special Olympics is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering you can contact Lisa Matherly the Director of Raleigh County Special Olympics at firstname.lastname@example.org