MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There are many opportunities for students with special needs to play sports in Minnesota: The state high school league sponsors several adapted sports programs.

But after they graduate and leave their high school teams, then what?

The nonprofit “We Love To Play” is celebrating its 20th year of organizing rec league athletic activities for adults with disabilities.

In high school, Tyler Spratt did it all–adapted soccer, softball, floor hockey and bowling.

But when he graduated from Minneapolis South last year, his athletic career came to a halt–until someone told him about We Love To Play.

“There’s not a lot of programs for kids with disabilities after high school,” he said. “I thought I would give it a try, and I’m glad I did. I really like it.”

Being done with high school doesn’t mean you’re done with sports. The program exists to keep people playing.

They have birth defects, brain injuries, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and spina bifida, but in the Courage Center gym, they aren’t defined by the challenges they have–only by the position they play.

“The majority of our people are people that have played in high school,” an organizer said. “The sports that they played there just aren’t available outside of school.”

Regardless of the medical situation, nobody is turned away from this program. The No. 1 tenet at We Love to Play is that everybody plays, regardless of skill or physical ability.

In addition to hockey, they play soccer, softball and even football on most Saturday afternoons at the Courage Center.

If you’d like more information about playing or supporting this nonprofit organization, visit We Love To Play’s website.

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