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Nearly 30 athletes meet, help in Special Olympics

Feb. 6, 2001

Baylor plays its part in skills clinic

By AMETHYST HENSLEY

Sports writer

Baylor athletes participated in the 5th-annual Special Olympics coach certification and sports skills clinic Saturday at Marrs McLean Gym.

The program is part of an outreach effort by Student Athlete Services to involve Baylor athletes in the community.

'They work with the kids and just be a pal for them,' Pat Saiz of Student Athlete Services said.

About 30 athletes took part in the clinic from the football, soccer, men's tennis, women's basketball and women's golf programs.

A wide range of participants, ranging from 14-60 years of age, came from high school and home school programs.

'Our goal is to provide year-round sports training and competition for persons 8 years old and above with mental retardation or closely related developmental disabilities,' said Judy Kilpatrick, Area 12 Director for Texas Special Olympics.

The Big 12 Conference began sponsoring the Special Olympics as a mutually beneficial experience for both parties. Baylor has been an active partner with the program beyond this clinic.

Since 1984, Baylor has hosted a basketball tournament and a local track meet for Special Olympics.

'Our Special Olympians enjoy the camaraderie and look forward to the events every year,' Kilpatrick said. 'They look up to the athletes and get satisfaction from being able to work side-by-side with their mentors. They also gain expertise by being exposed to different teaching methods at the clinic.'

Other athlete and community activities include Adopt-a-School, Big Brother, Big Sister, seasonal carnivals and 17 other service projects and mentorships.

'We want to involve our athletes in community activities such as the Special Olympics,' Saiz said.