Athlete Spotlight

Hi, my name is Clay Palmer, and I am 26 years old. I graduated from Houston High School in 2007 and worked at Germantown Downs Stables until 2013. I am now a second year TigerLIFE student at the University of Memphis where I am learning about independence, money management, and job training. I am working with the Tigers Men’s Basketball team as a student manager. Some of my responsibilities include filling up water cups, folding towels, rebounding for the players, and helping Coach Swartz with charting. I love being a college student and being around all the Tiger basketball players. It is a great opportunity to work with the Tigers because they are all such great people and friends. I have been in many Special Olympics programs since I was very young such as Swimming, Track and Field events, Baseball, Global Messenger, Cheerleading, Soccer, Snow Skiing, and of course Basketball. Special Olympics has given me so many opportunities to make new friends, experience different sports and events, and to just have a great time.

"As a parent, I appreciate the doors that Special Olympics has opened for Clay and other special individuals. It not only gives them the opportunity to make new friends and experience new sports, but it teaches them to be a team player and have an acceptance and appreciation for each person’s abilities and differences. We have seen growth in independence and maturity though Clay’s participation in Special Olympics over the years, and a desire to help others achieve things that he has already mastered, like shooting, dribbling, and passing the basketball. Clay was fortunate to have special friends who helped him with difficult tasks, and now he has the same desire to do that with other special athletes. An understanding that all individuals have differing abilities is the key to acceptance of all people. Giving special people the ability to shine is the essence of Special Olympics and we are grateful to have such a wonderful program in Memphis!" - Cheryl Palmer


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