MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A number of Madison County High Schools are playing their part in making sure all students have an equal opportunity to play sports – more specifically basketball.

In 2017, New Hope High School Special Education teacher Kathy Williams created “Special Forces,” a basketball team made up of students with special needs or facing disabilities.

Several members of the community joined the effort to help these students “experience the joy of playing in front of a crowd” through inclusive basketball tournaments.

Now, county educators are spreading that initiative to Madison County High School (MCHS).

(Photo: WHNT)

MCHS and its special needs basketball team will host and participate in the tournament for the first time this year.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Evan Hill. “I’ve always wanted to play for Madison County so this kind of gives me the opportunity to do so.”

The team has been practicing every week to learn new skills and techniques leading up to the games, but Hill says there is a bigger lesson to be shared.

“It just shows you to never give up and your disability doesn’t mean you can’t do what other people can,” Hill said.

MCHS senior Mason Meadows is the head coach of the basketball team. He shared that the biggest lesson he has gained as the head coach is patience and taking the time to understand that everyone progresses at different stages. He added that through his love of the game, he strives to make sure everyone has a place in sports.

“Just trying to make sure they have fun,” said Meadows. “It’s a privilege to play sports and I know I’ve always enjoyed playing it, so why shouldn’t they?”

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Tip-off for the tournament will take place during school hours on February 17 between Madison County High School, Buckhorn High School, and New Hope High School.