New Middletown sports league open to children with special needs

New league open to youth with special needs

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A new sports league in Middletown is designed to help children overcome whatever challenges they may face.

The Youth Adaptive League, or YAL, aims to give kids with special needs a new opportunity to train and compete in a new way. It's open to children who may struggle on a day-to-day basis.

"Maybe ADHD, maybe an amputee, autism, things of that nature," said Rodney Hunter, the CEO of B2E Sports and the creator of YAL.

While running his youth athletic training program "B2E," Hunter said he noticed a void in adolescent sports -- a vacancy he wanted to fill.

"This is something here. I really feel that this could be special," said Hunter.

His passion and inspiration comes from his younger brother Quinton, who has cerebral palsy.

"Growing up I was highly active, right, and he always wanted to trail me," said Hunter. "There were things I was doing sports wise that he really wanted to do."

As Hunter watched kids who reminded him of his brother struggling to find their spot in sports, he felt compelled to break down the barriers. He said YAL is designed to do that, with no limits.

"The goal is to have them become the next Michael Phelps or David Beckham," said Hunter.

For Danielle Hunter, not related to Rodney, she describes it as a dream come true. Her son is autistic.

"It's hard to see your kid struggling, and to actually have somebody there like we're gonna help them. We're gonna make this work. We're gonna do it for the kids," she said. "Totally speechless."

They'll start by working with Hunter and other coaches, training and practicing in indoor soccer, flag football or basketball, until they feel ready to move to a more competitive level. Hunter hopes they'll learn social skills and will have fun every step of the way.

The first part of the program is winter indoor soccer. Sign-ups are due by November 1, and the season starts in January. There is a fee to participate in the league. To find out how your child can partake, visit the B2E YAL website.

Hunter said YAL should be partnering with the Middletown High School SALT program. It would allow high school athletes who are part of the SALT leadership program to buddy up with members of YAL to mentor them and guide them through training.

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