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Unified Basketball returns at Turner Ashby High School

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 11:38 PM EDT
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BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) - Five area high school teams were back in action Monday night as Unified Basketball took the court at Turner Ashby High School.

Unified Basketball involves high school students with disabilities playing a VHSL structured basketball game.

“It gives our students a chance to be like everybody else,” Chris Dodson, coach of the Spotwood High School team said.

The program was started in Rockingham County six years ago and has now spread to surrounding areas.

“We’re just like everybody else we all put that uniform on, become a team, we travel together we eat together and we do the same thing that everybody else does,” Dodson said.

In previous years, teams competed in six games throughout a season. Since this was the first year back since the pandemic began, it was played invitational style.

This year’s competing teams were Spotswood, Turner Ashby, Broadway, Harrisonburg, and East Rockingham.

“It is enjoyable to play unified basketball,” one player said.

It’s not only enjoyable for the players but everyone in attendance.

“You watch the smiles not only of our players but their parents and their families, that makes it completely worth it,” Dodson said.

The gym was packed with fans from all schools and in between games there was even time for dancing.

“All of us strive to be a whole school environment, and this makes us a part of the whole school environment, and that’s what we’re looking for is to make everything equal and this puts us in an equal footing with everybody else. We have our sports just like they do,” Dodson said.

Coach Dodson said they are working on expanding the program to more sports than basketball. He’s hoping they can incorporate track and field and kickball.

”It’s basketball it’s supposed to be fun,” a player said.

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