There are many benefits to participating as an athlete with Special Olympics Texas:
Physical exercise positively impacts health, mood and anxiety.
Emphasis on sports training helps athletes maintain a healthy weight.
Athletes participate in activities that enhance their self-esteem and help them see that they can achieve goals that they set for themselves.
Athletes have many opportunities to make new friends and socialize in an environment that is accepting and encouraging.
Travel opportunities allow athletes to gain life experiences and skills that will positively impact all areas of their lives.
The Athlete Leadership Programs offer athletes opportunities to get involved in decision-making, public speaking, and leadership roles in their communities.
To compete in Special Olympics, a person must be at least eight years old. Children at the age of six may begin a training program, but are not able to compete until the age of eight. A person must also be identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following:
Closely related development disability, which means having functional limitations in both general learning and in adaptive skills such as recreation, work, independent living, self direction, or self care.
Matthew Olguin, 24, began participating with Special Olympics when he entered JFK High School in San Antonio about 10 years ago. In addition to being a former Area 20 Athlete of the Year, Olguin volunteers for SOTX in the Young Athletes Program and helps coach other athletes.
Brandon, 13, has been an SOTX athlete for a little over a year and already has been very active in the program. Before moving to Southwest ISD with his family in 2013, Brandon was afraid of playing sports and was overweight. Since starting school at Francis Scobee Middle School, things have changed mightily for Brandon.