Unified Partner earns Nike 'I Am Sport' award

posted Tue, Jun 20, 2017 by Jon Buzby

Keegan Cahill poses next to his News Journal "Athlete of the Week" poster at the annual Delaware Sports Awards banquet.

Keegan Cahill quarterbacked Newark Charter’s Special Olympics Unified flag football team to the school’s first ever state championship this past fall, won a bronze medal in the SODE Unified doubles bowling competition over the winter, and served as a captain on the Patriots’ varsity lacrosse team this spring.

But it was as much Cahill’s efforts off the field as his prowess on it that earned him the Nike I Am Sport Award presented at the annual Delaware Sports Awards on June 14 at the Bob Carpenter Center. The award recognizes those who have a passion for sports that they’ve passed on to others.

“Keegan has been the single most instrumental member of our school in helping to align our new athletic program's core philosophies with Special Olympics' model of empowering and engaging every individual with or without disabilities through athletics,” Special Olympics Unified head coach Chris Muscara noted on Cahill’s nomination form. “Not only does Keegan physically exhibit all of Special Olympics Delaware and DIAA's core characteristics of a student-athlete such as respect, persistence in the face of adversity, and grit, but he has taken it upon himself to direct his focus on doing whatever it takes to spread the message of the power of inclusion.”

Cahill has been instrumental in the development of school-wide initiatives raising awareness of and supporting his peers with disabilities. He helped organize the school's Spread the Word to End the Word event at Newark Charter and is a leader in the Respect Club. 

“It has been such a great opportunity to work so closely with Special Olympics throughout the past year,” Cahill said. “I strongly believe that everyone deserves an equal chance to play sports in high school, disability or no disability. And making that happen means a great deal to me. The school has done a great job and has really brought it all to fruition with a lot of help from Chris Muscara.”

Muscara was the head coach of the Unified flag football and bowling teams and also accompanied Cahill to Hill Day, an annual event on Capitol Hill when local representatives visit their respective legislators to reinforce the importance of Special Olympics in their home state.

“Keegan is the epitome of how anyone can use volunteer commitment through athletics to promote inclusion,” Muscara said.