Hays hosts annual Special Olympics basketball tournament


Hays High hosted the annual Special Olympics Kansas basketball tournament on March 22.

The Hays High Special Olympics basketball and cheer-leading team competed at the annual Hays tournament on March 22.

The Special Olympics Kansas is dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities, consisting of multiple athletic opportunities.

The schedule of the sports the Special Olympics play follow the same schedule the high schools are playing. The Special Olympics basketball tournament ended the season, just as other high schools have finished their season.

“We host the Special Olympics to showcase the athletic ability of those with intellectual disabilities,” Tim Rehder, Senior Vice President of Program Operations, said. “We want to show everyone what they can do. A lot of times in society, they are viewed differently from the average person.”

The Special Olympics encourages people to focus on the ability of these athletes.

Tournament brackets are posted on the Kansas Special Olympic website for all to access.

“It really gives them a chance to increase their self-confidence,” Rehder said. “Anytime you get a chance to show what you can do, it can really help someone. It can even translate into every-day life.

“It can help them gain respect. It will help them in job interviews and with their peers at school. If they can brag that they are a star player on their Special Olympics team, it will really benefit our athletes.”