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February 20, 2014 | North America: Southern California

Devanshi Mehta: Hooked on Special Olympics

By Brian Szczerbinksi

"It was an eye-opening experience," said Devanshi. "At that moment, I understood how incredible these athletes are. My admiration and celebration of the athletes keeps me giving back."

When Devanshi Mehta was a high school sophomore, soccer was her life. She competed on the top two teams in the United States and had dreams of playing at the collegiate level. However, things quickly changed that year for Devanshi. She injured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and saw most of her soccer dreams fade away. Yet, it was this low point that Devanshi saw the true joy — and power — in sports. It was through her previous involvement with the Special Olympics that renewed her passion in sports and inspired her to be an advocate for individuals with disabilities. As her role on the field has transitioned from athlete to coach, she has become a Special Olympics youth leader, started a club at her school, and created the first unified sports event in her area. Through the creation of these initiatives, unity and awareness has become widespread. It is through these experiences she desires to show people that sports are more than a game and that they can transform lives.

About Brian Szczerbinksi: Communications Manager, Special Olympics Southern California

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