Raiders receive Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year Award

Levi Damien
·2 min read

For some NFL players, their highlights include when they get to participate in many of the off-the-field community efforts their team or the league conduct throughout the year. It’s an opportunity to use their platform as an NFL player to improve the lives of others.

One such fulfilling endeavor is working with Special Olympics athletes. For which the Raiders were honored during the recent Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year Awards show as the Philanthropic Volunteer of the Year Award winner. Punter AJ Cole, who took part in many of the team’s Special Olympics endeavors since joining the team in 2019, recorded a video accepting the award on behalf of the Raiders.

“I am humbled to accept the Philanthropic Volunteer of the Year Award on behalf of the Raiders Organization,” said Cole on a recorded message that aired during the Volunteer of the Year Awards show. “I’m also honored to represent an organization that is so committed to furthering Special Olympics’ mission of creating a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people.”

Cole led a virtual workout last March as part of the Healthy Athletes program which included a post-workout Q&A with the Raiders punter.

The Raiders are also joining Special Olympics athletes from Nevada and California for a “Virtual Fall Sports & Fitness” session; a seven-week training program similar to their in-person sports season but conducted from the safety of their homes.

Cole, along with fullback Alec Ingold, quarterback Marcus Mariota and defensive end Carl Nassib joined athletes from flag football, golf and soccer for one of the sessions that consisted of a conditioning workout lead by a fitness instructor. The players stretched and sweated through a recent workout during the program that includes three days of live practices per week.

Under normal circumstances, these sessions would happen in person, but the Raiders and the Special Olympics aren’t letting the pandemic keep them from their activities.