Kent State Basketball Commit First D1 Athlete with Autism

The prospect hopes to one day open a charity for autistic children.

Autistic commit
Kalin Bennett chose Kent State for it's programs that help autistic students.
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Kalin Bennett of the Kent State Golden Flashes is the first NCAA Division 1 athlete with autism to sign a letter of commitment.

The recruit is the first known autistic athlete to play any college sport, according to Bleacher Report, and he’s hoping the attention he’s getting will inspire others in his position to follow suit.

“I want to make an impact not just on the court, but with kids that are struggling with the same things I am,” Bennett told the sports site. “I want to use this platform to inspire other kids with autism and non-autism. I want to let them know, hey, if I can do this, you can do it, too. A lot of times they feel alone and by themselves, and I felt that same way growing up.”

The 6’10”, 300-pound rebounder is expected to make an immediate contribution to the team, given his size and skill level.

But Bennett’s autism diagnosis does present a few challenges for him, his team and coaching staff.

“Some stuff he gets really fast, and some stuff he has to process,” one of his high school teammates said. “The big thing is, when he does have a question, he keeps asking it, instead of moving on to the next play.”

Yet Kent State basketball and the school itself have many systems in place to aid students with autism — one of the draws for Bennett, who hopes to one day open a charity.

“I want to be able to make a place where (autistic) kids can just come by, have fun, don’t feel no fear being around other people,” he said. “Be able to express themselves, be able to be who they are without worrying about what people think about them, or how they process stuff.”

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