• Special Olympics Forsyth
    1120 Dahlonega Hwy
    Cumming, GA 30040

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Athlete Eligibility

Who is eligible to participate in Special Olympics?

To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, an athlete must be at least 8 years old for State Games or in grades 3 and up for Local Games (K and up for the Annual Spring Games) and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disabilities, cognitive delays as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that requires or has required specially designed instruction.

Athletes must have a participation form completed by his/her parents or guardian. The form provides written consent for participation and media release. In addition, the athlete’s doctor must sign the medical release giving the athlete clearance to practice and compete (see information below about Down syndrome guidelines). Participation forms are good for 3 years.  Click on “Registration” to obtain the form.

Can my athlete compete even if s/he is not enrolled with the Forsyth County School System?

Yes. Any athlete can compete as long as s/he is registered with Forsyth County Special Olympics and SOGA (see Registration). Registered adults and athletes who are home schooled or in private schools can contact Susan Darlington (sdarlington@forsyth.k12.ga.us) if they are interested in participating in any of the local games listed on the Calendar.  For the Annual Spring Games, please contact Susan Darlington by March 25th so that a buddy can be assigned to the athlete and a T-shirt ordered.

What Sporting Competitions are available?
Athletes can compete in local, regional and state competitions.  Local competitions are typically provided by the Forsyth County School System in conjunction with Forsyth County Parks and Recreation and Cumming Civitan.  Local Games provide awareness for new and returning athletes as they consider competing in the State Games.  Unlike the State Games, athletes are not required to practice prior to the local games.  For For more information about State Games and Competitions, please click on the “State Games” tab.

What does Special Olympics cost?

Special Olympics Forsyth puts no cost on the athlete or his/her family. All State Games fees, uniforms, equipment and lodging are free.  Because of this, Special Olympics Forsyth continuously looks for opportunities to raise money for its athletes and the programs it provides.

Participation By Individuals With Down Syndrome Who Have Atlanto-Axial Instability

Medical research indicates that up to 15% of individuals with Down syndrome have a malalignment of the cervical vertebrae C-1 and C-2 in the neck.  This condition exposes individuals with Down Syndrome to the possibility of injury if they participate in activities that hyper-extend or radically flex the neck or the upper spine.

Special Olympics Inc. requires temporary restriction of individuals with Down Syndrome from participation in certain activities.

1. Accredited programs may allow individuals with Down Syndrome to participate in most Special Olympics sports training and competition activities.  However, such individuals shall NOT be permitted to participate in sports training and competition activities, which, by their nature, result in hyperextension, radical flexion or direct pressure on the neck or upper spine, unless the requirements of (2) and (3) below are satisfied.

Such activities include: Equestrian sports, Artistic Gymnastics, Football (Soccer) Team play, Alpine Skiing, Any warm-up exercise placing undue stress on the head and neck

2.Restriction from participation in the above-listed activities shall continue until an individual with Down Syndrome has been examined (including x-ray views of full extension and flexion of neck) by a physician who has been briefed on the nature of the Atlanto-axial Instability condition, and the results of such an examination demonstrate that the individual does not have Atlanto-axial Instability condition; OR

3. For any individual diagnosed as having the Atlanto-axial Instability condition, the examining physician shall notify the athlete’s parents or guardians of the nature and extent of the individual’s condition, and such athlete shall be allowed to participate in the listed activities only if the athlete submits written certifications from two (2)  physicians, on SOI forms, combined with an aknowledgement of risks signed by the adult athlete or his/her parent or guardian if the athlete is a minor.

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