Kalin Bennett Becomes First Athlete with Autism Awarded a Division 1 Basketball Scholarship

Kalin Bennett standing in the gymnasium looking off into the distance with a smile on his face. He's in a black Nike hoodie; blue bleachers and stairs are in the background.
Kent State basketball recruit Kalin Bennett discusses his journey and struggles as a student-athlete with special needs.

Kalin Bennett is an incoming student to Kent State University recruited to play for the university’s NCAA Division 1 basketball team. It will make him the first student-athlete with autism recruited to play for the school. While he was recruited by a number of different schools, Bennett chose Kent State because of their commitment to organic inclusion in sports and special needs awareness. He was told from a young age that he may never be able to walk or talk, but today is excelling in sports as well as music and math.

“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.’’

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