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Royal Oak High School recognized as Unified Champion School

Royal Oak High School recognized as Unified Champion School
Royal Oak High School recognized as Unified Champion School 02:43

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Have you heard of unified sports? They're growing in popularity in schools nationwide and also right here in Metro Detroit.

The crowd roared for Grant Hattermann Tuesday night as he and his teammates got pumped up for this unified basketball game at Royal Oak High School.

"Taking my 3-pointers, shooting like Jaden Ivey," Hattermann says about his warmup routine.

Unified sports combines special needs students and "partners," which are students to help those special needs students for interscholastic athletics. For basketball, three special needs students and two partners per team hit the floor to hoop it up.

"He puts a smile on my face everyday," says Royal Oak High School junior Sam Klonke. 

Klonke is one of those "partners" by Hattermann's side. Klonke says Hattermann's energy is unmatched and when he's on the floor, he's there to compete.

"We don't come out with the W, he's sad. But he's ready to go at practice the next day coming back ready to go get the next win," said Klonke about Hattermann.

"It's basketball in its purest form, but it gives those three kids, (on the court) those special needs kids, an opportunity to compete for their schools," says Brian Gordon, Royal Oak High school athletic director. 

He says its students like Hattermann who make the unified teams worth it in schools.

In his first year of high school and as a unified student-athlete, Hattermann is looking to make the tournament as most importantly, bring home some hardware with his friends at his side.

Royal Oak High School introduces a trophy in its own right, a banner as a Unified Champion School, officially recognizing the merging of students with and without intellectual disabilities on the court or field.

Hatterman said it was the friends along the way he's made that made his experience worth while. He added that one day he hopes to make it onto the floor with his favorite team, the Detroit Pistons.

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