The benefits of sports are universal for all children, including those with disabilities. The participation of children with disabilities in sports and recreational activities promotes inclusion, minimizes deconditioning, optimizes physical functioning, and enhances overall well-being. It’s also a stepping stone to many opportunities in life……and according to those around Devon Berry it can be very inspirational.
Devon Berry is a senior at Hampton High School in Hampton, Ga. Devon excels in many sports…however one in particular has afforded him the opportunity to earn a college scholarship, the sport of wrestling. Devon is a scholar athlete and although he has cerebral palsy his attitude and work ethic has propelled him to “role model” status for many. Click for more about Devon Berry’s story.
It’s important to continue to advocate for more sporting and physical activity opportunities for individuals with disabilities. A great example is the Carolina Panthers Challenger Flag Football program. It's celebrating the conclusion of 11 successful seasons. The program provides children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities with the opportunity to play in a structured flag football program that includes Spirit Squad cheerleading. In the article the volunteersstate, "the real joy is seeing the development of social skills, confidence levels and physical mobility of the players and cheerleaders." A link to the article is here.
Duplication of these types of programs are very important. We all share the responsibility to ensure everyone has equal access to sports and other physical activities. Sports has been and will continue to be an outlet and motivator for many and it can truly aid in the enhancement of one’s potential.