Philadelphia Eagles Build Sensory Room for Fans With Autism

Summer is quickly coming to a close, and for many Americans that means one thing: Football. The Philadelphia Eagles are kicking off the season in style, with the addition of an all-new sensory room at its Lincoln Financial Field stadium, the team announced in a news release this month.

Being a spectator at sporting events can be tough for fans who have autism or other sensory issues. The unpredictable cheers and whistles and the lack of personal space doesn’t usually fare well. Ultimately, it can ruin the experience for these fans and their families. Which is why the new room should make game days for Eagles fans with sensory issues much more accessible and enjoyable.

The room sets the Eagles apart as one of the first sports franchises to build a state-of-the-art sensory room in its home venue. In order to gain a sensory inclusive certification, Eagles employees and staff at the stadium had to complete training that involved learning cues that are linked to sensory issues, and how to handle a sensory overload situation. The 500-square-foot sensory room was carefully designed by medical professionals to ensure a quieter and more secure environment. When fans enter the room for a peaceful escape, the sensory bags equipped with noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will help them feel at ease. The sensory room officially opened its doors to the public on August 4.

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Photo: Hunter Martin

“With the opening of Lincoln Financial Field in 2003, we made it an organizational priority to create a one-of-a-kind experience for guests in a safe, friendly and inclusive environment,” says Jeffrey Lurie, chairman and CEO of the Philadelphia Eagles. “It is truly heartwarming to know that this state-of-the-art sensory room will now provide a sense of ease and comfort for families and loved ones who may be experiencing sensory challenges at Lincoln Financial Field. In this moment, we are creating a major shift from autism awareness to action, and it is all thanks to our compassionate and caring fans, Eagles Autism Challenge supporters, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the autism community around the world.”

Presented by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), a founding beneficiary partner of the Eagles Autism Challenge, the Lincoln Financial Field sensory room is just one way the Eagles and CHOP have partnered to help families in the area. For the past decade, the Eagles and CHOP have collaborated on the team’s annual Huddle Up event, a carnival-inspired gathering for families impacted by autism.

The football stadium is the latest Pennsylvania public space to better equip itself with resources to help those with sensory issues. This summer, the Pittsburgh International Airport launched a sensory-friendly suite, which offers families a calming place to de-escalate before boarding a plane.

PHOTO: Hunter Martin

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