Introducing Unified Basketball


2017 Best Buddies Basketball Clinic

Joe Clark

This fall, Franklin High School will be introducing a Unified Basketball program. As defined by the Special Olympics website, Unified Sports “Brings together ATHLETES with intellectual disabilities and athletes without intellectual disabilities (UNIFIED PARTNERS) to train and compete on the same team. Participants improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills and learn acceptance and inclusion while participating in Unified Sports. A primary goal of Unified Sports is to equalize the ability level of Special Olympics athletes with their partners and to promote inclusion through team practice and competition.”

Franklin’s Unified program will meet two days a week after school, in addition to playing 4-6 games against other teams in the Hockomock League or other regional teams. The first practice is Wednesday, September 13th and the season goes until the end of October.

“Last spring, Unified Track was very popular and we hope to continue that with Unified Basketball,” said senior Grace Sameski, who is helping with the program.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends that you may have never gotten the chance to meet before,” she added.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to play some basketball and not only get myself better but help others get better as well,” said senior Jack Stavely, who is planning on participating in the program.

If you’re interested in playing Unified Basketball, you must sign up on FamilyID and get your physical in by September 9th. There is a $100 user fee but hardship exceptions are available.

The team will be coached by John Leighton, a history teacher at FHS who also coaches the varsity girls basketball team. You can follow the Unified Basketball program on twitter @FranklinUnified.