LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) — One nonprofit is working to bring Utah athletes of all abilities together.

The nonprofit Special Forces Sports Foundation and Utah State University hosted a Special Forces Sports Day for USU athletes and students with special needs in Cache County. 

“Athletes sharing the love of their sport with these kids with special needs gives them the opportunity to build compassion and empathy,” said Special Forces Founder and CEO Matt Lance. 

“We want to show them a good time and show them the things that we get to do every day”, said USU Women’s Soccer Coach Ashley Cardozo. 

Together, athletes practiced football tackles, threw tomahawks, and played tennis. At the end of the day, volunteers say it wasn’t just the kids who walked away feeling like winners.

“With the hustle of athletes they don’t have a lot of time for outside things,” said Lance. “This gives them the opportunity to take a moment step aside from themselves and their goals.”

Volunteers say at events like these, it’s more than just the games they play, but it’s the lessons they learn along the way. 

“I just think it’s really powerful to see how one small act of kindness can really boost someone’s day whether it’s an athlete or one of the students here,” said USU Volleyball player Bella Wooden. “No matter what day you’re having, no matter their circumstances, being kind to someone once a day can be very powerful and impactful to their life.” 

Lance says he hopes to partner with universities across the country, to get this program and these principles to grow into something bigger than him.