2015 Outstanding Athlete of the Year

Brooke Ingram of Mattoon has been named 2015 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Athlete of the Year. She was honored at a reception held June 12 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Athlete Award recognizes a Special Olympics Illinois athlete whose achievements, dedication and commitment to their team and themselves exemplifies the purpose of Special Olympics.

Photo by Jeremy DavidsonBrooke got started with Special Olympics in 2003, competing in athletics and bowling. She now participates in wheelchair races and is perfecting her softball throw in a seated position. Brooke competed in the 25-meter non-motorized wheelchair race at Summer Games, earning a silver medal.

Brooke has faced countless set-backs that would deter most athletes from returning to their sport. When Brooke learned that her school would no longer participate in Special Olympics Illinois competitions, her mother, stepfather and younger sister all rose to the challenge by becoming Class A volunteers, coaches and advocates for Brooke to achieve her goals. They are all now part of the Independent Ingram Special Olympics team.

After overcoming that hurdle, Brooke was faced with another. In 2014, Brooke was diagnosed with a severe degenerative neuro-metabolic disorder, eventually resulting in the loss of her mobility. Her adversities, however, have only pushed Brooke further to achieve her goals. Her ability to overcome so many challenges makes her an inspiration.

Her consistent dedication to being the best she can at her sport is what makes her an outstanding athlete, according to her nominator for the award. Read more about Brooke.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and completion in 19 sports for nearly 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 21,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills, and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soilll.org.


Michele Evans at 309-888-2573