14-year-old Colin Stevens is using his Autism Strength to live out his passion: basketball. Stevens, a freshman at Sparrows Point High School, had spent previous basketball games watching his team from the sidelines until this past Friday, when his coach Marc Kline put him on the hardwoods.

He then scored six baskets for his team during the game, according to KCCI Des Moines.

Colin’s team, The Pointers, used Friday’s game to raise money for autism research and awareness, in conjunction with Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization.

Jeannie Lozowski, of Love Serving Autism, writes about the benefits of not only physical activity, but team encouragement and self accomplishment. While sports programs help with improved motor skills and cardiovascular health, accomplishment promotes self esteem among kids and adults, and fostering these types of goals in a community setting brings happiness and confidence.

“Physical activity as a whole causes the body to release chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins interact with the brains receptors that reduce your perception of pain. This process promotes a positive feeling in the body and overall can increase happiness,” Lozowski writes.

“It was amazing! More than I expected,” said Colin. After training with the team for the past two weeks, would say he’s learning from the best, but the team says it’s the other way around.

“They accept him, they accept him and there’s nothing more in his life, that he’s wanted to be accepted. And that’s what this team has given him,” said Colin’s dad, Bill Stevens.

The American Autism Association has a number of therapeutic recreation programs, including our Ballet for All Kids happening now for five weeks in February and March! Find out about all of our programs on our website.

“It allows us to make awareness for autism and how important it is for these kids that are in school to get along and stand up for them,” said Kline.

We applaud you, Colin!

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