Become an Athlete


Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Our athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment — on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential. There are about 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Our goal is to reach out to every one of them – and their families as well. Interested in becoming an athlete? Contact Special Olympics Louisiana by calling (800) 345-6644 or by emailing

How to Become an Athlete:

Join Special Olympics Louisiana and be the best you can be! Follow the listed steps below to become a Special Olympics Louisiana Athlete.  Please feel free to contact Special Olympics Louisiana if you have any additional questions.
STEP 1: Learn more by contacting Special Olympics Louisiana by emailing or calling 800-345-6644 – or by contacting the local coordinator for your area.
STEP 2: Complete, sign and return the Athlete Packet (all pages must be completed to be processed)
STEP 3: Begin the adventure of a lifetime!

Opportunities for Athletes:

Become a Young Athlete
Play Unified
Become an Athlete Leader

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must:
  • Be at least 8 years old (Children ages 2 1/2 to 7 are eligible to participate in the Young Athletes Program)
  • Have a current Medical and Consent Form on file.
  • Identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disability; a cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures such as intelligence quotient or other generally accepted measures; or a closely related development disability, i.e., functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills.

Read More About Athlete Eligibility Criteria.

What is the definition of intellectual disability?
A person is considered to have an intellectual disability and  is eligible to participate in Special Olympics if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements:

The person has been identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability as determined by their localities; or the person has a cognitive delay, as determined by standardized measures such as intelligent quotient or “IQ” testing or other measures which are generally accepted within the professional community as being a reliable measurement of the existence of a cognitive delay; or the person has a closely related developmental disability. A “closely related developmental disability” means having functional limitations in both general learning (such as IQ) and in adaptive skills (such as in recreation, work, independent living, self-direction, or self-care). However, persons whose functional limitations are based solely on a physical, behavioral, or emotional disability, or a specific learning or sensory disability, are not eligible to participate as Special Olympics athletes, but may be eligible to volunteer for Special Olympics.

Degree of Disability:
Participation in Special Olympics training and competition is open to all persons with intellectual disabilities who meet the age requirements, regardless of the level or degree of that person's disability, and whether or not that person also has other mental or physical disabilities, so long as that person registers to participate in Special Olympics as required. 

Mulitiple Handicaps:
Persons who have multiple handicaps may participate in Special Olympics provided they are eligible as noted above. 

Profound Disabilities:
Individuals with profound disabilities can participate through Special Olympics Motor Activities Training Program (MATP) developed by physical educators, physical therapists and recreation therapists. MATP emphasizes training and participation rather than competition.

Find out more about the Motor Activities Training Program.


Athlete Registration Packet
Athlete Handbook 
Athlete Code of Conduct
Family Code of Conduct 
Find a Local Program in Your Area
Share Your Story

A Big Thanks To Our Partners!

How to Become a Partner
  • 1000 East Morris Avenue
  • Hammond, LA 70403
  • Phone: (985) 345-6644
  • Toll Free: (800) 345-6644 (in Louisiana)
  • Fax: (985) 345-6649
  • Email: