HENDERSON, Nev. – The Las Vegas Raiders are supporting Special Olympics athletes from Nevada and California as they participate in "Virtual Fall Sports & Fitness," a seven-week training program similar to their in-person sports season but conducted from the safety of their homes.
Raiders punter AJ Cole, fullback Alec Ingold, quarterback Marcus Mariota and defensive end Carl Nassib joined athletes from flag football, golf and soccer for one of the sessions that consisted of a conditioning workout lead by a fitness instructor. The players stretched and sweated though a recent workout during the program that includes three days of live practices per week. In addition, the Raiders were honored during the recent Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year Awards show as the Philanthropic Volunteer of the Year Award winner. Cole recorded a video accepting the award on behalf of the Raiders.
"I am humbled to accept the Philanthropic Volunteer of the Year Award on behalf of the Raiders Organization. I'm also honored to represent an organization that is so committed to furthering Special Olympics' mission of creating a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people," said Cole on the recorded message that was aired during the Volunteer of the Year Awards show, which the Special Olympics described as an "… exciting virtual experience as we honor our amazing volunteers for their dedication and commitment to the remarkable athletes of Special Olympics Nevada."
Last March, Cole led Special Olympics athletes from Nevada and Northern California in a fun and engaging virtual workout as part of the Healthy Athletes program. The event also included a post-workout Q&A for Cole and the Special Olympics athletes to chat about their favorite quarantine activities, recipes, healthy foods and inspiring messages.
The Raiders are proud supporters of Special Olympics Nevada and their mission to enhance the quality of life of athletes through health and wellness opportunities. During a Watch Party last season at Las Vegas Ballpark, the Raiders recognized Special Olympics Global Messenger Paul Brooks, surprising him with a customized Raiders jersey and the reveal that he was getting an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
The Raiders also hosted their Huddle for 100 during the Watch Party, where fans volunteered to assemble health packets with hydration and nutrition items as well as notes of encouragement for Special Olympics Nevada athletes. The health packets were distributed to athletes throughout the state of Nevada to in support of their Health Fit-5 program. The Raiders also collaborated with Special Olympics Nevada to host a flag football tournament for their athletes. Raiders Alumni coached the teams and the Raiderettes taught a dance routine to an all-abilities cheer squad.
Last year, Raiders Alumni and Raiderettes were on hand when Special Olympics athletes and coaches descended on the Reno area to compete in the 2019 Special Olympics Nevada Summer Games. In addition, Nevada Law Enforcement and Special Olympics athletes made a pit stop at the future home of the Raiders, Allegiant Stadium, while participating in the Southern Nevada Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). They were greeted by Raiders Alumni, Raiderettes and Youth Ambassador Raider Rusher during the fun-filled stop that featured interactive games and Raiders giveaways.