Coaches Organize Support Group for Unified Sports Program
A new organization has been launched to support coaches in the Hoosier State who take part in a unique sports program that helps young people with disabilities who do not often get a chance to play on their school sports teams.
A coalition of coaches created the nonprofit Unified Coaches Association of Indiana, believed to be the first organization of its kind.
The coaches take part in the Unified Sports of Indiana program, which is a collaboration between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics of Indiana.
Inside INdiana sports contributor Bill Benner talked with UCA Vice President Ryan Pepple on the association’s mission.
“With a number of veteran coaches out there throughout the state, (we thought) it would be great to have another resource to help with neighboring schools to get their programs up and running,” said Pepple, who is also a coach at East Noble High School.
The program places high school students with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to train and compete. Pepple says East Noble HS has been involved in unified sports since 2014 when the school took part in track-and-field competitions.
Pepple says the organization wants to grow unified sports programs across the state.
“The mission is to support, inform and educate current coaches that have unified sports program within their schools,” said Pepple.
Of the 410 member schools of the IHSAA, Pepple says 175 have unified sports programs. He says the Unified Coaches Association wants to grow the involvement.