- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska will begin offering high school sports championships for disabled students competing with partners.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports (https://bit.ly/1HO48Fp ) the Nebraska School Activities Association will add the new championships next year.

The games, which are referred to as unified sports, allow students with disabilities to compete alongside students without disabilities.

Dan Masters, who will oversee the championships for the activities association, says unified sports programs promote inclusion and help reduce bullying.

“That’s the beauty of having students with and without intellectual disabilities together on a team. It’s so advantageous for both groups,” Masters said.



The first championship offered in the 2016-2017 school year will be in bowling. Then competitions in track and field, swimming and golf will follow in the 2017-2018 school year.

The National Federation of High School Associations says similar unified sports program are already in place in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Washington and Illinois.

Masters said he’s working on making sure that school districts and coaches across the state know about the new programs in Nebraska. Feedback from school officials will help determine which sports to offer and when their seasons should be.

Grants will be available to help school districts begin programs, and the Special Olympics of Nebraska will offer training and support to help.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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