Adapted Athletics

District 833's Thunderbolts Adapted Athletic Program provides opportunities for cognitively impaired students. The Thunderbolts are an Official Varsity Sports Program and a member of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL). This opportunity is available for students with various disabilities at all District 833 Schools in grades 7-12. They learn to play team sports and compete against other teams from around the state. In addition, the Thunderbolts is a co-ed team that also provides tremendous social opportunities as well to help the athletes gain confidence and build a positive self image which carries over into the classroom, home, job and community.

The Thunderbolts co-ed team offers Soccer (Fall), Floor Hockey (Winter) and Baseball/Softball (Spring). Each of these programs are designed to accommodate all levels of play and ability. All of the games are held indoors in a gymnasium. The athletes play a full schedule of games during an 8-10 week period, (depending on the sport) and will compete all over the Twin Cities Metro Area and the State of Minnesota.

To become involved within the South Washington County Schools, contact your high school activities director:


The baseball/softball program participants receive practice time and instruction for hitting and fielding the baseball, as well as ongoing instruction regarding the rules of the game. The athletes will use a plastic bat and hit a plastic whiffle ball. A “soft tee” is also available, athletes may wear a baseball glove or use a baseball mitt if they choose, however, they are not required.

Floor Hockey:

Floor hockey is an exciting new addition to the already established soccer and baseball/softball teams. Athletes will receive practice time and instruction on hitting the puck, scoring and defense. Teams will be composed of 6 players/positions: goalie, right and left defense, center, right and left wing. The athletes will use plastic/poly hockey sticks and a Felt Slider puck made of 100% wool. They will be required to wear helmets with full face masks.


The soccer program participants are instructed on the skills, positions and rules of the game through practice and games. Games consist of two 20 minute halves and are played indoors on a regulation sized basketball court, with the ball being able to be played off the walls. The ball itself is a felt-covered indoor soccer ball, which is inflated so that it won’t bounce as high as a regular soccer ball. Teams consist of no more than seven players, including a goalkeeper, and six other position players.

Minnesota Adapted Athletics Association (MAAA) describes the value of Adapted Athletics:

Interscholastic adapted athletics is definitely an important dimension in the education of the whole person. Students with varying types of disabilities compete co-educationally while representing their school district or combination of school districts. Students who participate on a school team assume an obligation to model exemplary behavior not only for themselves, but also for those whom they represent. Athletic awards earned by an athlete with a disability, represent not only participation by the student in a specified amount of interscholastic play, but also good citizenship which is expected of all athletes. Interscholastic athletics are intended to give student athletes the opportunity to discover and/or improve the following:

  • Goal setting;

  • Pride and self-confidence;

  • Friendships;

  • Leadership and teamwork;

  • Competitiveness;

  • Graciousness (win or lose);

  • Physical condition/wellness;

  • Concentration and intensity;

  • A sense of community and belonging; and

  • Commitment and dedication.

It is the belief of the MAAA Board that the mental and physical attributes that student athletes acquire through participation will help them lead more productive and well-rounded lives.

Additional information and the history of Adapted Athletics can be found on the Minnesota Adapted Athletics website.