(FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas) - The Fort Sam Houston Jimmy Brought Fitness Center was full of smiles and basketballs this weekend during the Special Olympics Texas' Area Basketball Competition Friday and Saturday.

Area 20 of Special Olympics Texas includes more than 5,200 athletes with intellectual disabilities from the Hill Country to Corpus Christi.

Randolph Air Force Base has hosted the Special Olympics in the past, but this year, Paul Matthews, directorate, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, approved the event at the Jimmy Brought Fitness Center because the facility is larger than Randolph's gym.

Second Lt. Shawn Bourdon, staff nurse, Brooke Army Medical Center, organized some of the nursing staff from BAMC to work at the first aid station, also, B Company, 264th Medical Battalion had 15 soldiers volunteer at the competition. They were part of an outstanding effort to safely load and off load 32 buses of Special Olympics athletes in addition to helping on the courts.

Friday, 320 athletes competed in the Individual Skills Competition. They demonstrated their ability to shoot and make baskets from various shot locations, complete a pass into a square on the wall and complete a 10 meter dribble for time. The three basketball courts allowed the athletes to be in a safe controlled environment without being crowded. When the event took a break for lunch the grass area was a great location to eat lunch and soak in the South Texas sunshine.

Saturday morning, 24 teams participated in "classifying," where a short six-minute basketball game was played to determine each team's abilities and consequently their lineup for the single elimination tournament next Saturday. The afternoon was devoted to three-on-three and Girls' five-on-five competitions that were divided by ability level.

Page last updated Fri February 27th, 2009 at 13:56