Unified Sports

What is Unified Sports?

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an inclusive program which combines individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams for training and competitions.  Athletes and partners compete alongside one another, each in a meaningful and integral role on the Unified Sports® team.

SOKS offers Unified as an option for all Team Sports competitions.  Partners should attend practices regularly like all other athletes. Unified Sports teams are divisioned separately from traditional Special Olympics teams for competitions.

Growth of Unified Sports Continues Across Country – Article from National Federation of State High School Associations

What is a Unified Champion School?

Unified Champion Schools participate in the following three components:

Unified Sports
Unified Sports gives students with and without intellectual disabilities opportunities to participate in sports activities alongside one another. Sports activities include Young Athletes, which teaches beginning sports skills to younger students, as well as Inclusive Physical Education classes and Unified Sports during the school day.

Inclusive Youth Leadership
Inclusive Youth Leadership provides students with and without intellectual disabilities opportunities to take on leadership roles in promoting their Unified Sports activities in their school and their community.

Whole School Engagement
Whole School Engagement encourages students to engage in the Unified Sports experience through school-wide activities such as disability awareness campaigns like pep rallies or Autism Awareness and Spread the Word to End the Word campaigns.

High School and Middle School Playbook
All Unified Resources from Special Olympics

What is the Unified Sports League?

Since 2013, SOKS Unified Sports League has existed in Kansas City and Topeka made primarily of school-based Unified Sports teams for basketball (fall), bocce (winter) and soccer (spring).  Sports are held in opposite seasons to traditional SOKS sports to allow athletes to participate in both Unified and traditional SOKS programming.  The benefit here is that an athlete can focus on fewer sports and have more opportunities to improve those sports skills.

Download Unified Sports League brochure

We are actively working to expand the Unified Sports League across the entire state. Please contact Chris Burt at if you would like more information on how your school could get involved.

Kansas Unified College Sports Opportunities
Special Olympics Kansas is in the process of partnering with colleges and universities across Kansas to provide intramural unified sports opportunities on campuses partnering university students with Special Olympics athletes over the age of 18.

Current Unified Sports Opportunities:

Wichita State University 
University of Kansas
Kansas State University 
Pittsburg State University 
Start a Special Olympics College Clubs
If you would like more information or if you are at a Kansas university or college and would like to get something going at your school, please contact Chris Burt at
Important Unified Sports League Dates
2019-20 Dates (Specific dates and locations will be added as they become available)
August – Recruit players and hold informational meeting
Early September
 – Unified Basketball Practice Begins
October 19 – Unified Basketball Matches @ Gardner Edgerton High School
October 20 – Unified Basketball Matches @ Washburn Rural High School
November 2nd or 9th – Unified Basketball Tournament @ TBD
Early December – Unified Bocce Practice Begins
Early February – Unified Bocce Matches @ TBD
Late February – Unified Bocce Tournament @ TBD
Early March – Unified Soccer Practice Begins
Mid-April – Unified Soccer Matches @ TBD
Early May – Unified Soccer Tournament @ TBD
Participating Kansas High Schools and Middle Schools

Aubry Bend Middle School
Blue Valley High School
Blue Valley North High School
Blue Valley Northwest High School
Blue Valley Southwest High School
Blue Valley West High School
Bonner Springs High School
Gardner-Edgerton High School
Lansing Middle School
Lansing High School
Lawrence High School
Mill Valley High School
Olathe East High School
Olathe Northwest High School
Olathe South High School
Oswego High School
Pittsburg High School
Pleasant Ridge Middle School
Prairie Star Middle School
Robert E Clark Middle School
Shawnee Mission East High School
Shawnee Mission Northwest High School
Shawnee Mission West High School
Spring Hill High School
Topeka Seaman High School
Washburn Rural High School

If your school is not currently participating, start your own program!

Download our start-up guide to learn more: Unified Sports – Student Guide
Email Chris Burt, with your interest in coaching Unified Sports at a school near you.
Unified Sports Coach recruitment video: Coaches share their insight on the keys to being a successful Unified Sports coach and the role they play in ensuring meaningful involvement on the field and fostering social inclusion off the field.

Unified Sports Inclusion recruitment video: Teammates and coaches talk about the power Unified Sports can have in building friendships at school and in the community.

Unified Sports Official recruitment video: Officials share their experiences on the role they play in ensuring fair and safe Unified Sports competition compared to the role staff play in managing player domination.

Unified Sports School Administrators recruitment video: The video provides elementary, middle and high school administrators an overview of Unified Sports, including the benefits a Unified Champion School can bring to their students and school community.

Unified Sports Teammates recruitment video: Teammates share their perspective on the value of Unified Sports, on the field expectations and off the field benefits.

No particular experience necessary. We are looking for passionate individuals willing to donate 1 day/week to coaching high school students after school. Teachers, paraeducators, soccer coaches should apply, as well as anyone else with an interest. All Coaches must meet coach requirements. Each school team needs a fully certified coach. We recommend each school have multiple coaches, including sports coach, staff liaison, and community volunteers. We do require each team to have one coach per sport who has completed the free, online NFHS Coaching Unified Sports course. Additionally, we encourage Staff Coaches to select Youth Leaders to lead teams as a service learning project:

  • Member of NHS or Stuco, or like-minded individual
  • Recruits students to participate and reminds students to turn in forms, go to practice, etc.
  • Promotes league among student body to attend as fans in the stands
  • Chooses other projects to lead in order to enhance school’s inclusive environment.
A Special Olympics athlete is a student with an intellectual disability. Most students with an IEP qualify as an athlete. In order to participate, an athlete must submit an Athlete Medical/Release Form  to his or her coach. A physical is required as part of this form. Students may submit a previous physical completed for another purpose in lieu of the bottom portion of the Medical Release Form.

If a student already participates in Special Olympics, the forms may not be required for registration. Contact Chris Burt,, 913-236-9290 Ext 107. Down Syndrome Information Down Syndrome form (if applicable) Formulario Medico / de Exoneracion Medical Addendum for Down syndrome  Inscripcion del Atleta

A Unified Partner is a student without an intellectual disability.  Partners in our Player-Development division act as mentors to athletes.  As such, specific rules and guidelines are in place to ensure athletes have meaningful involvement in the competition. Learn more by reviewing the Player-Development Guidelines.  Each partner must complete a Class A Volunteer & Unified Partner Registration Form.

We want to make sure that we are recognizing your entire Unified Champion School efforts. Please fill out this form for any Unified activitities that takes place at your school or organization outside of sports. These activities can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Inclusive Pep Rally
  • Inclusive Clubs
  • Awareness Campaigns
  • Student Led Fundraising
  • Peer Buddies

Please note, to be considered for the Unified Champion School banner program, schools must engage in all three components of the UCS program. If there is any media associated with the event (i.e. newspaper article, website write-up or video) please send that to Chris Burt at

Report UCS Activities Here

Special Olympics Kansas is looking for youth to join the movement as leaders. You will educate other youth that intellectual disabilities cross all boundaries of age, gender, religion and culture. Youth leaders help carry out Special Olympics mission and promote inclusive environments in their schools and communities. Find Out More