By Manahan, Theresa

Davie, FL – Miami Dolphins General Manager Dennis Hickey and all twenty two rookies hosted Special Olympic athletes from Miami-Dade and Broward counties at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University to promote physical fitness in the South Florida community.

“This is the second time the Dolphins had our athletes come and work with the players. This is absolutely a fantastic event,” Special Olympics Florida Board Chair Ron Fulop said. “I actually have a daughter who’s a Special Olympian and I can tell you when they have an opportunity to partner with a professional sports athlete, it’s just like virtually anybody in terms of we’ll do whatever it takes to be exposed to these great athletes. For them to give us their time and their commitment to this is truly extraordinary and it’s something that these athletes will remember for the rest of their lives.”

More than eighty Special Olympics athletes in grades 6th-12th played flag football games, ran through obstacle course stations and enjoyed lunch with the rookies. The athletes came from Homestead Middle, Homestead High, Our Pride Academy, Taravella High, Olson Middle and Jose Marti Park.

“It’s about the Dolphins way – that’s what we’re about. From Mr. Ross all the way on down. We’re about giving back to the community,” Hickey said. “Our rookies do a great job, if you watch them out here. They’re making that connection, having a great time. It’s a bonding for them. It’s also integrating them into what it takes to be a Miami Dolphin: playing on the field and winning games; but it’s also giving back to the community.”

“It was really fun coming out here with these kids,” Dolphins first round draft pick DeVante Parker said. “They look up to us, and it’s a great thing for us to come out here and participate with them and have fun with each other.”