BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — When he was 4 years old, Taylor Duncan was diagnosed with autism and because of people’s perceptions about his disability, he wasn’t able to play competitive sports.
He’s now 24 and trying to make sure that doesn’t happen to others with special needs.
In 2016, Duncan, who lives in Dallas, Georgia, started the Alternative Baseball Organization. His first league was in Powder Springs, just outside of Atlanta. The organization now has 30 programs across 14 states. It all started because Duncan wanted an answer to a specific question.
“Why isn’t there an opportunity like this available for others like myself who just want to be accepted for who we are and encouraged to be the best we can possibly be to the maximum of our potential?” Duncan said. “Why aren’t these resources openly available for everyone?”
So he founded his own league for people 15 years old and older with special needs. He’s now looking to expand to central Alabama. Duncan is searching for coach/managers, players and volunteers in Birmingham, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Cullman or anywhere people are interested. His ultimate goal is to create opportunities across the country.
“I feel like we’re making a lot of great progress, but having it in the areas where we have is just not enough,” Duncan said. “We have to cover the entire country, and we have to cover every community because everyone deserves the opportunity to play traditional baseball free of judgment.”
The league uses Major League Baseball rules and wooden bats. The baseballs are a little larger and softer than what you’ll find in other leagues, but that’s the only adaptation. And the goal isn’t just to create opportunities to play the game. It’s about life enrichment, social interactions and building lifelong friendships.
“I wanted to pass along the positivity I’d learned and the social and physical enrichment to others just like myself who just want that opportunity to show what they can do,” Duncan said. “They want that one chance. They want that one opportunity.”
He’s recruiting participants for leagues to begin in central Alabama in the spring of 2021. In the meantime, he’s asking all his league managers not to play during the pandemic.
You can find more information about the league here.
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