CENTRAL ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) -- Many high school athletes are navigating through cancellations during the coronavirus pandemic.
But Wednesday was a day of competition, inspiration, and fun on Long Island as the Suffolk PAL hosted a youth field day with the Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program and local high school athletes.
The event showcased runners of all abilities after competition and events were stalled due to COVID-19.
"Sports is the healer. It brings people together," Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program Founder Steve Cuomo said.
"Instead of being outdoors and out with everyone else and your friends and your team, you're just stuck inside," Daniel van Nostrand, an athlete from Hauppauge, said.
"With the virus, it's taken its toll on kids who are on the autistic spectrum," Cuomo said.
Temperature checks upon entrance and social distancing were practiced in accordance with state health and safety guidelines.
"Everybody was tested today before they showed up, with their temperatures. Everybody is wearing masks for the event and we're trying to distance as best we can," Suffolk County Police PAL Officer Anthony Guzzone said.
While these athletes are adjusting to the new guidelines, once the events begin, including a 1.5-mile race and a 5k race, the focus is on the competition on the field, just being back out there and that sense of accomplishment.
"I just love it. I've been running for such a long time. It's the best thing I've ever done," Kayla Harte, an athlete from Stony Brook, said.
"This is what gives her her superpower and as you saw it just electrifies her and gives her her spirit," Kayla's mother, Robyn, said.
"They really are super athletes. It just goes to show that regardless of any disability that anybody can do anything that they want," Guzzone said.
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