Marvel Star Simu Liu unveils upgraded sensory room at Chase Center
SAN FRANCISCO -- The sights and sounds of Warriors games may be overwhelming for people with sensory sensitivities or disabilities.
On Monday, Marvel star Simu Liu unveiled a special space that will make the game day experience more inclusive for fans with special needs.
He donated funds to renovate the room, which debuted in late 2019.
The sensory room now bears his name. Liu dedicated the space before the team took on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The high energy entertainment that comes with any game can be triggering and stressful for fans with sensory needs like autism.
Liu, who starred in Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, checked out the new space with families who will now have a more comfortable and welcoming experience at Chase Center.
"For a number of these families who have mothers, fathers, children with sensory needs going to something like a public event seems unfathomable when the resources aren't there, when there's not the existence of a sensory room to help cope with those moments where the lights, the sounds... there's an overstimulation of the senses," he said.
The upgraded room has carpeted walls, special lights and screens, and puzzles and games meant to calm and soothe fans.
The space was built with the support of KultureCity, a nonprofit that creates sensory inclusion for those with invisible disabilities, which 1 in 6 people deal with in the U.S.
"KultureCity was started by this amazing man Julian Maha, who has a wonderful son Abram, who is nonverbal," he said. "He's taught me so much about what it means to make nevers possible for families."
Simu opened up about his own struggles with mental health last fall. He said he wants to use his platform to advocate and lift up others in need.
"I think initiatives like this, the inclusion of a sensory room in public stadiums and events, is so critically important, because it's not just about making life bearable, it's about making life exceptional," Liu said.
This was an exceptional moment for 14-year-old Davie Umbenhaur of San Carlos.
"It's very cool," he said of his first-ever Warriors game.
"He has autism, so sometimes crowds get very difficult to be around, so this makes it easier to come to a game, because he has a place that's safe," said Davie's mother Camala Umbenhaur.
Camala said before Monday, the family had never been able to attend a game, due to the stress it would put on Davie.
"It's as simple as coming here for a few minutes, calming down, looking at some of the lights," Liu said.
The room is also designed for mothers who may need to nurse, people with conditions like PTSD, or anyone in need of a quiet space.
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