Champions Training Academy will host day for athletes with disabilities

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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In September, Champions Training Academy will host a community day for athletes with disabilities. The exact date has not yet been determined.

Owner Pattie Harrelson said the idea came from Jackson Services owner Dale Jackson.

“For a long time, I’ve wanted to integrate this into the gym but haven’t had all the pieces come together. I hope that it will be the start of regular classes for them. We are partnering with Jackson Services to put air conditioning into the main part of the gym. Dale’s son, who is at the Discovery Cottage, gave me the idea of doing the special needs camp,” Harrelson said.

“The event is going to be open to the whole community, and we’re going to use our cheerleaders and gymnasts to help train and give a fun environment and atmosphere for these kids.”

Harrelson said they will train the students in different apparatuses on the floor and create a fun atmosphere for the students.

She said one of her goals in putting on the community day is that the athletes will feel like the community supports them.

“My hope is to train the community to be more open. We’re going to invite our competitive team to be part of this and to work hand-in-hand with them. I think it’s just going to be neat to see them break down barriers between kids with disabilities in themselves and to see that we’re all just human. The outcome would just be to help transform the community and show kids that they can be friends with kids with disabilities and vice versa,” Harrelson said.

Harrelson said down the road she’d love to see classes develop for athletes with disabilities.

“There’s nothing more unique than the Special Olympics and special needs gymnastics programs. There are several in Georgia, and it’s really precious. I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I can see us becoming a place that offers it,” Harrelson said.

In getting academy cheerleaders and gymnasts involved in the community day, Harrelson said she hopes that they can learn compassion and relate to athletes

“We have such a fun-loving, energetic staff that is inclusive, well-rounded and diverse. I think these are some of the qualities that we have to draw people in that make us so diverse. We don’t all look the same or have the same abilities, and I think that’s what makes us unique and special,” Harrelson said.

For more information on Champions Training Academy, contact Harrelson at 678-517-4429 or email her at