COVID-19 has affected so many during these last few months. From after-school programs to sports and other extracurricular activities, many are moving to a virtual sphere.
But another group that's been affected has been individuals with intellectual disabilities. One of the Los Angeles Chargers' community partners, Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC,) has implemented virtual programming to keep those they serve active, healthy, and safe during this time.
The Bolts wanted to get involved and hosted a virtual workout with Subway and Children's Hospital Los Angeles supporting it as part of their presenting sponsorship of the Chargers Play 60 programming.
"Special Olympics Southern California is committed to helping athletes not only stay in shape for their sport seasons, but help them create a healthy lifestyle year-round," said Amber Lasher, Special Olympics Southern California manager. "Our athletes look to SOSC as a source of inclusion and acceptance in sports, but also in social interaction. When we are able to host these live virtual events, it not only keeps them active, it also gives our athletes a chance to interact with others. It is very important for our athletes to stay connected through this pandemic. We appreciate the Chargers and their generosity to reach out and set up this virtual Play 60 event."
The session for over 100 registered participants was hosted by punter Ty Long and his wife, Cara. The athletes did a number of body weight exercises with modifications suitable for all ability levels and even got to ask Long questions at the end during a live Q&A. Each athlete also received a coupon for a free Subway sandwich.
"It was a lot of fun," Long said. "Cara and I loved working with everyone. We love trying to inspire people and just getting the opportunity to work with everyone today was awesome. They put in some hard work!"
This past December, the Chargers worked with SOSC and Special Olympics Minnesota to host an exhibition flag football game between the two groups. Long presented the SoCal team with their jerseys and both he and Lasher are grateful to the Chargers for their continued dedication with supporting these athletes.
"The Chargers and (their) community relations team are phenomenal to work with!" Lasher mentioned. "We love hosting and innovating new ways to engage their players and our SOSC athletes. We can't wait to see the Chargers compete this season and hope to be able to share more great experiences in the near future!"
"It's awesome that the Chargers work with the Special Olympics," Long added. "It's what my foundation is all about. It's great to spend time and get to know the athletes and see how happy they are doing what they get to do. It's inspiring to see. I am so happy the Chargers are part of the special needs community and am happy to help in any way."