Kent State Recruit Kalin Bennett Becomes 1st Player With Autism To Get D1 B-Ball Scholarship (VIDEO)
Get your tissues out.
Kent State is becoming the first school in NCAA history to sign a player with autism to compete in a Division I sport. His name is Kalin Bennett, and he isn’t just showing up to campus to play basketball, he’s hoping to inspire kids with autism everywhere to follow their dreams.
Once labeled a child who might never speak or walk, he is readying himself to break new ground.
“Earlier this month, Bennett became the first student-athlete with autism to sign a national letter of intent to play a team sport at the NCAA Division I level, according to the NCAA. He’ll enroll at Kent State next summer.
“I want to make an impact not just on the court, but with kids that are struggling with the same things I am,’’?Bennett said. “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.’’
His athleticism and engaging personality belie his early struggles. Bennett did not sit up until he was 2. He did not walk until he was 4. He did not talk until he was 7 and did not hold a conversation until he was 8. Then Bennett’s real journey began.”
“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; 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,’’ he said.