Members of Cahaba Mental Health flooded the Wallace Community College gymnasium Friday for the Special Olympics Classic.
Members of Cahaba Mental Health flooded the Wallace Community College gymnasium Friday for the Special Olympics Classic.

Cahaba Mental hosts basketball competition

Published 8:48pm Saturday, February 23, 2013

Crowds filled the stands and cheered Friday as Cahaba Mental Health hosted their Special Olympics Classic at Wallace Community College Selma.

The annual basketball game invited mental health organizations from around the river region for a day of friendly basketball games. This year, teams were represented from Montgomery, Uniontown and Selma.

LaFon Barlow, executive director for Cahaba Mental Health, said she was especially surprised this year with the tournament’s large turnout.

“We have people with special needs who are cheering on the teams,” Barlow said. “And today we also have Dallas County High School who brought a tremendous amount of volunteers. They brought band members, cheerleaders and some students from their special needs classes.”

Barlow said this is Cahaba’s 13th year hosting the classic and it’s put on yearly to remind community members how important it is to support those with special needs.

“We want people to accept people with special needs and accept people who have problems with mental illnesses,” Barlow said. “Hosting the basketball competition also decreases the stigma that people with mental illnesses are incapable of doing physical activities like basketball.”

Along with giving Cahaba Mental Health members something fun to participate in, Barlow said the basketball competition is also beneficial on a physical level. Participants practice before the event, giving them a healthy dose of exercise, she said.

“It keeps them physically and mentally healthy,” Barlow said. “All during the season it gives our people something physical to do.”

Aside from the basketball games, Barlow said she was thankful for everyone who showed up to cheer on the teams.

“We had a very large turnout and we’re very grateful for that,” Barlow said. “The next competition will be in March in Montgomery and we hope just as many, if not more, people come out and support us there.”

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