The Santa Clarita Sharks Basketball Team is an extension of the Special Olympics of Southern California. This is a team comprised of children ages 8-14,with 22 members, and 21 of those members autistic athletes. Although parents and coaches are also interviewed in this video, the autistic basketball stars express the benefits of non-mainsteam athletics, including the many social benefits, with one child stating that he most enjoyed “[talking] to people that are just like me, that have the same things”. Best of luck this season!
Chase Shirley, 12, is the Special Olympics Featured Athlete of the Year. This incredible multi-sport autistic athlete has 63 trophies and 25 medals from a combination of baseball, soccer, gymnastics, floor hockey, basketball, horseback riding, and mixed martial arts. He says autism ‘feels like dodging a thousand balls at one time’, which he seems more than capable of doing based on his many awards. He was invited by the San Diego Padres to throw out the opening pitch for one of the team’s season home games.