MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A popular sports organization is looking to expand in Memphis.
The Alternative Baseball Organization is a baseball league for individuals with autism and other disabilities. There are teams all over the country and now, they want to come to Memphis.
Local 24 News Reporter, Brittani Moncrease, spoke with the founder of the organization.
#Powerthruperception. That's the hashtag for the Alternative Baseball Organization.
They are changing the perception of what people with disabilities can and cannot do.
The life lesson baseball teaches is the sky is the limit.
"Rather than putting up the barrier and putting up the perception as some sort of a fence, we're helping break the barrier and to hashtag 'Power thru Perception,'" said Taylor Duncan.
He is the Executive Director and founder of the Alternative Baseball Organization. It is a national league for players with autism and other disabilities.
The league is hoping to pitch some new teams in Memphis and the surrounding areas.
"With the positive experiences that I have had, it was time for me to pass on those experiences and really try to help as many people as possible," said Duncan.
He knows first-hand the hardships of being autistic.
"I was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. Growing up, I dealt with a lot of stuff, social stigma, from those that thought they knew what one with autism can and cannot accomplish. They excluded me from having those opportunities to play on a traditional team setting," said Duncan.
For those with autism, paving a path of independence is key.
"After high school for many, there's nothing because their eligibility caps out at age 18 or whenever they get out of high school," said Duncan. "I don't remember anything saying that autism stopped at age 18."
That is where the Alternative Baseball Organization comes in.
"Everybody plays on the field independently just like in the major league rules," said Duncan. "The only difference that ours has with the actual Major League rules is we use a different type of ball that's slightly larger and much softer than traditional regulation-size baseball."
Since its start in 2016, the league has really grown.
"Whoo! We are in 14 states with around 30 different programs," said Duncan. "At first, many on the autism spectrum that I've seen especially some of them that I personally know were anxious about starting for the very first time, because it does represent a source of change from their daily routine; however, once they get out there, they literally have the time of their lives. They're enjoying this experience that they've never been given the opportunity to participate in before."
They are shattering the restrictions and strengthening the possibilities.
The Alternative Baseball Organization is looking for volunteers, players, coaches and managers in the Mid-South.
To learn more, you can visit https://www.alternativebaseball.org/.
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