Sports Illustrated Honors Teen On The Spectrum
A runner with autism is Sports Illustrated’s High School Athlete of the Month.
Mikey Brannigan, 18, was diagnosed with autism as a toddler and has struggled with communication and socialization. But today, he’s considered among the top middle-distance high school runners in the country, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Northport, N.Y. senior is the magazine’s pick for February.
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Sports Illustrated selects a high school athlete from across the country to spotlight each month “whose impact goes beyond the scoreboard.” Winners vie for the magazine’s High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced in June.
Brannigan began running with a club focused on training those with special needs, but now he has his sights on international competition. Sports Illustrated reports that the teen has been invited by the U.S. Olympic Committee to train for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in an effort to prepare for the Olympics in 2024.
“You can do anything you want. You have it inside you,” Brannigan told Sports Illustrated.
“I was diagnosed with autism, a disability,” he said. “It affected a little bit of my life and I improve on that and I’m here today. I’m grateful for God. And my talent. I’m proud of this moment, to where I am today.”