Program helps kids with special needs play sports year-round - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Program helps kids with special needs play sports year-round

Rally Cap Sports is a new sports program to help children with special needs. It kicked off Sunday afternoon at Bowling Green State University.

It's the idea of Paul Hooker, a 1975 graduate of BGSU.

He's run a similar, successful program for 24 years in New Jersey that features nine sports.

The BGSU program will highlight football, golf and soccer, allowing the kids to play sports year-round just like their able bodied siblings and friends.

Mr. Hooker hopes to take his program nationwide.

"This allows them to play with no judgement, a lot of buddies gives them a lot of support. The socialization skills are amazing," said Mr. Hooker.

Thirteen year old Alex Mitoda of Bowling Green will play soccer.

Alex is blind.

Alex tracks the ball through a sound that it makes.

He was inspired by his brother to take up the sport.

Alexi's mom Marianna says she wants her son to make new friends.

Rally Cap Sports is the perfect place.

"I want him to be out in the community, experience the joy of playing. I want the best for him just like any parent," said Marianna.

Rally Cap Sports is for kids seven years old and up.

There's a $25.00 fee.

BGSU business students will act as mentors to the kids.

"This is what I want to do, social entrepreneurial. It's been a passion for me. I want these kids with disabilities to have the opportunity to catch a football or score a goal," said student Luke Sims.

As for Alex, he'd rather score a goal than catch a football.

"I'm not a very good American football player" he says.

For more information, go to http://www.rallycapsports.org.

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