Amidst the homework, exams, the pressure to get into college, and typical teenage drama associated with high school, extracurricular activities can be a welcome break from the norm. This is especially true for 15-year-old Robert Baswell. Baswell is a student at Livermore High School in California and a member of the school’s Livermore Cowboys basketball team. An active and devoted member of the team, he regularly attends practice and receives the respect of his coach and teammates alike.
Baswell’s dedication to the sport all paid off when he recently scored a buzzer-beating shot at one of the Cowboys’ games, receiving thunderous applause from the audience and praise from his team members, marking it one of the most memorable experiences of Baswell’s life. In a video with NBC Bay Area, he reveals that he loves reliving the moment over and over.The video, deservingly, went viral, touching the hearts of many parents of special needs individuals. It inspired them and gave them hope that their own children could also grow and achieve success doing something they loved.
Baswell is not the only person with autism who finds strength and joy in sports. Participating in athletic activities can be very therapeutic for those on the spectrum. It can help strengthen social skills, help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness, improve motor function, reduce anxiety, improve health, and increase self-esteem. Last year, we wrote about Micah Miner, a ten-year-old gymnast on the autism spectrum who attended the national championships in trampoline and tumbling. Anthony Ianni is another example of a person with autism who achieved success in sports. Basketball allowed him the opportunities to strengthen his communication skills and attend college, where he continued to play basketball.
The American Autism Association itself offers a variety of athletic therapeutic recreational activities, such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and horseback riding, which more information can be found on here.
Sports can be hugely beneficial for those on the autism spectrum and it is wonderful stories from people who have personally benefitted from it. Congrats to Robert Baswell and the rest of his team!