Bring Students Together: Unified Basketball

Stone Smith, Pawprint Staff Reporter

Some people might be wondering, “what is unified basketball?” to which the coach of the team, Coach Hurst, replies by saying, “[The unified basketball team is] a program that allows students with or without disabilities to play together on the same court or field.” 

Coach Hurst wants other students to try and participate and help out with the team.

“Spread the message of inclusion and look for ways to include students with disabilities,” Hurst goes on to say.

What stands out about these teams is each team, there are five players compared to the average of 12. These five players consist of three athletes (the students with disabilities) and two partners (the students without disabilities). 

One of the athletes, Michal Houchins, said he joined the team because “[I] love sports and having fun. It makes me better at controlling my emotions, and it also helps me get better at basketball.”

Houchings’s partner, Ana Salinas, said she joined because “[I] get to help the athletes as a partner and it’s fun interacting with everyone, so basically it’s fun overall. [I] also joined because it makes me happy to be helping others, and I get to practice a sport I love to play.”

The team says that they are all learning new skills together and would enjoy it if even more students went and helped or supported them.

“Other students and people could be involved by making posters, helping as partners, and/or coming to tournaments,” suggested Hurst.

If students and faculty would like to attend the tournaments and support the team, they should plan to go to Jordan High School on Wednesday, March 9th at 2:30 pm, or if they wish to see the State tournament go to the University of Utah on Saturday, March 26th.