AHA Club Lets Athletes With Special Needs Shine

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AHA Club Lets Athletes With Special Needs Shine

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Madison Walp’s face was visibly aglow as she heard her name being announced over the loudspeaker and heard her family shouting her name. She was an Athletes Helping Athletes honorary captain for the Archbishop Ryan vs Archbishop Wood football game on Saturday, October 6.

Madison was escorted out by her sister Elizabeth Walp, junior at Archbishop Ryan, and the football captains. There, she met the Archbishop Wood captains and game referees at mid-field.

As honorary captains arrive in their AHA tee shirts and medals, they meet up with the Ryan student they will be spending the game with. Some of the AHA athletes sit in the stands and partake in cheering on the team alongside the Ryan student body. Others stay on the field  as a teammate with the players.

When the athletes are on the field the coaches and the players can’t help but feel their energy. When the athletes decide to sit in the stands they know exactly when to cheer just by the volume of crowd. The honorary captains are definitely a prominent voice in the crowd.

Elizabeth Walp

At Archbishop Ryan, the Athletes Helping Athletes club was started by Dylan Daniels and Meghan Kidd, who are both now seniors. The club moderator is Mr. McFadden, Principal at Ryan.

“Dylan and I started the Athletes Helping Athletes Club at Ryan because we saw how successful it was. Since it is an actual organization, there are many local high schools that are involved and we both knew Archbishop Ryan needed it too.” said Kidd.

Elizabeth Walp

As the honorary captains are presented, it brings awareness to those who might not realize how important it is for people with special needs to be involved with a team activity.

“This is the club that I have most enjoyed being a part of in my 18 years as a faculty member at Ryan.” McFadden said.

The honorary captains bring so much positivity to the games, just like Madison did on October 6.

Though the game was a loss for the football team, Ryan notched a morale victory for giving Madison the experience that she had.

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