Originally published March 23, 2022 by InForUm.
By Eric Peterson
The Fargo ABLE Games concept is spreading to area schools.
TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics in Fargo and New York Jets offensive lineman Connor McGovern announced ABLE Physical Education on Wednesday, March 23, a program developed for students of all abilities.
They made the announcement at Central Cass in Casselton, N.D.
“It came about pretty organically,” said McGovern, a Fargo Shanley graduate. “When we started ABLE games, we never had the intention of doing this. It’s really starting to change students' lives right now at Central Cass.”
New York Jets offensive lineman Connor McGovern, a Fargo Shanley graduate, is one of the driving forces behind the Fargo Able Games. He is also involved in launching ABLE Physical Education.Forum file photo
ABLE Physical Education is an inclusive program that pairs a peer with a student with special needs, similar to the two-person teams used at the Fargo ABLE Games.
“We created a fully integrated PE program that aligns to the North Dakota state P.E. standards,” said Kim Pladson, President/CEO at TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics. “They want to compete. They want to participate. Sometimes you just need somebody to give you that opportunity and that’s what Connor is doing through ABLE Games.”
Six schools within the Sargent, Richland and Ransom County school districts have been using ABLE P.E. since January for a multiple-week course that will wrap up the week of the ABLE Games. The games are scheduled for April 9-10 at Veterans Memorial Arena in West Fargo.
“Now, it’s even grown more than that into something that’s going to hopefully change people’s lives,” McGovern said. “We’re starting in North Dakota and we’re going to branch out from there.”
Pladson said John Porter, the director of South Valley Special Education that includes Sargent, Richland and Ransom county school districts, attended the inaugural ABLE Games last spring in downtown Fargo. Porter thought the ABLE Games, an all-inclusive functional fitness competition similar to CrossFit, could be implemented into the PE programs at the South Valley schools.
“It really was the impetus of him just watching it on Broadway last year, the inaugural year,” Pladson said.
McGovern said there have already been multiple success stories of the program at Central Cass. Pladson said six schools in the South Valley are using the program and the participants will compete in April’s ABLE Games.
“All these kids have these different challenges and for the first time they now get to do phy ed with their peers and classmates,” Pladson said. “They want to compete. They want to participate. Sometimes you just somebody to give you that opportunity and that’s what Connor is doing through ABLE games.”
McGovern is hoping that ABLE P.E. is eventually offered to all schools, Grades 7-12, across North Dakota. He said the program has a similar goal as the NFL's "Play 60" program.
“We’re just really excited for the opportunity to do this and we see a huge need for this,” McGovern said. “It starts with movement.”