Unified Sports® in Schools

Unified Sports® is a registered program of Special Olympics. It is a program that combines approximately equal numbers of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on sports teams for training and competition.

All Unified Sports® players, both athletes and Unified partners, are of similar age and matched by sport skill ability. Unified Sports® teams are placed in competitive divisions based on their skill abilities, ranging from training divisions (focused on skill-learning) to high-level competition.

In 1992, as part of an effort to reach school-aged athletes, Special Olympics Connecticut formed a partnership with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) to bring Special Olympics Unified Sports® to schools across the state.

Special Olympics Unified Sports® school programs administered by CIAC operate throughout the school year and closely follow the academic calendar. Unified Sports® events are organized in each sport season for elementary, middle and high school students. All public and parochial schools in Connecticut are invited to participate.

This inclusive program gives all school-aged children opportunities to participate in organized team sports and build friendships with their peers and help inspire a school environment where inclusion, acceptance and respect are cornerstones.

• 97% of Connecticut's public high schools offer Special Olympics Unified Sports programs

• 81 middle schools and 62 elementary schools currently hold Unified Sports events and tournaments

• 5,865 athletes and Unified Sports® Partners participated in Unified Sports at their schools in 2018.

• Of these, over 1,500 were enrolled in our Young Athletes program, which is Unified Sports® for children ages 3 to 7, which helps participants improve physically, cognitively and socially at the earliest phase of their development.

Unified Champion Schools successfully demonstrate a commitment to inclusion by fully adopting three components: the Special Olympics Unified Sports®program, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole School Engagement.

Connecticut has more Unified Champion Schools than any other state with a total of 44. 



The Pathway: Special Olympics Unified Sports® in Connecticut Schools - Pre-K to Grade 12

For more information on Special Olympics Unified Sports® School Programs administered by CIAC, click here.

To find out how to start a program at your school, contact:
Robert Hale, Director of Special Olympics Unified Sports®
Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference
(203) 250-1111 
[email protected]
To find out about opportunities to continue participation in Special Olympics Unified Sports® following high school graduation, please click