ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Members of one Abilene team of athletes with disabilities have the honor of competing in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. “Team Texas” is headed to the sunshine state, ready to compete and play unified flag football.  

“I’m just really excited and looking forward to being out there and giving 100% in this competition,” said team member Michael Martinez. 

Assistant coach Terry Hayhurst told KTAB/KRBC that these men received a ‘hero send-off’ as they left Rose Park in Abilene Friday morning. 

“We had APD (Abilene Police Department) there, the [Taylor County] Sheriff’s Department, [Abilene] Fire Department, and many family and friends, and supporters,” Hayhurst listed.

The athletes are now getting the chance to show off their hard-earned skills, but also another chance to prove just how competitive they really are.  

“It’s really exciting because we’ve been working towards this goal for two or three months now and so I think everybody back there will tell you that they’re extremely excited, and just glad at all their hard work and get to experience this,” Hayhurst said.  

These athletes expressed not only their excitement, but their gratitude for being the only team to represent the Lone Star State.  

“It’s just truly a blessing,” said member of Team Texas, WIll Gilmore. “These guys are amazing, they’re awesome, they’re good teammates and I’m just happy to be a part of all this.”

The team will be stopping in Houston and then flying to Orlando, Florida for the upcoming competition. This event will take June 5 through 12. 

Team Texas’ first game will begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) Monday and can be seen on cable television or streaming on ABC and ESPN.