After two years without games, the players of the Scioto County Special Olympics are excited to get back on the court. Traditionally the students and adults have played in the same league, but this year they’ve been separated into their own divisions. To start things off, the Scioto County Development Disabilities has hired Brandy Starrett as the new coach of the adult Special Olympics basketball team, known as the Shooting Stars.
Starrett is a former substitute teacher at SCDD’s Vern Riffe School in Portsmouth. Several years after leaving that job, she completed her nutritional certification and now manages Iron Body Fitness in Portsmouth.
“When I heard there was a coaching job open, I messaged them to find out what the hours would be because I absolutely loved that job so much,” Starrett said.
Theresa Rowland, outreach coordinator with the SCDD, said they were thrilled to have Starrett leading their Shooting Stars.
“She is perfect for our adults. She has experience in the DD world as a substitute teacher for the Vern Riffe School, and she has such a love for our individuals,” Rowland said.
There are 13 players and cheerleaders on the team. As coach, Starrett brings them into her gym for practice on Tuesdays, and then they also practice at the Southern Ohio Medical Center Life Center on Thursdays. They played their first game in Piketon on Jan. 10, and then played the Wellston DD on Jan. 19 in Wellston where they won 30-20. Home games will be played at the SOMC Life Center, but later may be moved to accommodate more spectators.
“It’s so fulfilling. It’s a pure joy that you don’t get in any other community. I love the excitement that they have, and I try to give them knowledge about health and fitness for their overall well-being. It’s just about getting them up and moving and having a good time,” Starrett said.
Spring sports will bring new activities, and Rowland invites anyone who would like to participate to contact her at [email protected] or call 740-353-0636. For more information about the programs and services at the Scioto County Developmental Disabilities, you can also visit online at www.sciotodd.org, and like and follow them on Facebook.