Local Scenes Stuff

Alabama Athletics Receives Sensory-Inclusive Certification From KultureCity


The University of Alabama Department of Athletics has partnered with KultureCity to make Bryant-Denny Stadium sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote a more accessible and positive experience for guests and fans with sensory needs at the stadium.

“Obtaining this certification is something that was very important to us,” said Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne. “We want all of our fans to have the best experience possible, and we thank everyone at KultureCity for educating and equipping us with the tools needed.”

A game at Bryant-Denny Stadium is exciting, but it can be overwhelming for someone with extreme sensitivity to overstimulation and high levels of noise, such as some people with autism, dementia or post-traumatic stress disorder. Now the stadium has materials available to help such people cope with the environment at Crimson Tide games. (Crimson Tide Photos)

The certification process included sensory awareness training provided to staff at the University of Alabama by leading medical professionals to provide tools on how to better serve guests with sensory needs.

“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a football game, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment,” said Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity. “Our communities are what shape our lives and to know that Alabama Athletics is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”

Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will also be available to guests at Bryant-Denny Stadium with sensory needs who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Three areas have been designated as check-out locations for the sensory bags, which will be staffed by members of the University of Alabama Autism Clinic. Bags can be checked out by leaving an ID at the following locations:

  • Lower level (ground floor): Near the first aid room behind Section K
  • Upper level (concourse): Near Section SS-10
  • Upper level (concourse): Near Section NN-11

“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a football game, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment,” says KultureCity’s co-founder, Dr. Julian Maha. (file)

Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by people with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in sporting venues. With its new certification, Bryant-Denny Stadium is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having a more comfortable experience when in attendance.

Prior to attending an event, fans can download the free KultureCity App to view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. The App also features a Social Story that will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying an event at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

For fans needing assistance in-venue, please call 205-348-5620.

KultureCity is a leading nonprofit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created more than 350 sensory-inclusive venues in four countries, including special events such as the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl and MLB All Star Weekend.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

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