Play: Athletes – FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an Athlete:
Why should I participate in Special Olympics?
Participating in Special Olympics year-round sports program allows athletes to get physically fit, learn new skills, and participate in a wide variety of sports. It’s also a great way to meet new friends and help you achieve new heights.
Who is eligible to participate in Special Olympics?
Anyone who has been identified as having an intellectual (or cognitive) disability by a medical professional or agency is eligible to be involved in Special Olympics. Athletes must be at least 8 years old to compete. There is no upper age limit.In addition we have a Young Athletes Program for children ages 2-7.The program focuses on fundamental skill acquisition through play.
Are there any fees to participate?
There is no cost to join Special Olympics, nor is there a cost to train or compete. Special Olympics raise funds through sponsorships, private donations and special events.
How do I join?
- Contact the Special Olympics office at 410-242-1515. They will provide you with the contact information for the Area / County Program in your geographical area. Area / County information can be found here. Your Area/ County program will provide you with an Application for Participation in Special Olympics form.
- Complete this form in full, and have your physician sign the medical release portion.Return your form to the Area/County Program by the medical deadline date provided for the sport in which you are interested. Once your form has been completed, the medical release is good for 3 years.
- Once your form is submitted, you may begin attending practices!
Why is a medical release required?
The medical release is similar to those required for participation in any other sports program. They provide us with necessary information including a health history and emergency contact information. The medical release is also required, because special Olympics provide secondary insurance coverage.
For more information on becoming an athlete, visit your area/county program or contact Special Olympics Maryland.
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