Baseball Organization For People With Autism Seeks To Establish Grand Junction Team Sports

A baseball organization for teens and adults with autism is trying to form a team in Grand Junction.

The Alternative Baseball Organization (ABO) has teams across the country that serve as sports and social centers for teens 15 years and older and adults with autism as well as those with other disabilities. ABO Commissioner, Director and Founder Taylor Duncan is eyeing the West as the organization continues to grow.

“We have those who are interested in the area,” Duncan said. “We’ve had pretty good recruiting success so far for Colorado Springs, but there’s nothing elsewhere in the state with additional teams to play against, so we’re trying to create a circuit of cities throughout. state to be able to play games next year.

Duncan, from Dallas, Georgia, founded the ABO in 2016 at the age of 20, drawing on his own experience, his growing awareness of the challenges facing teens and young adults on the spectrum. , and his love for baseball.

“I’m on the spectrum myself and wanted to give back to others like me,” Duncan said. “I know that after high school, in a lot of areas, there just aren’t a lot of resources. I wanted to keep playing and this was an opportunity to bring it to my segment of the disabled population who would otherwise not have the same resources.

Games are played on traditional high school-sized fields under Major League Baseball rules, with nine innings and using wooden bats.

The OBA’s Western teams outside of Colorado Springs are in Tacoma, Washington; Boise, Idaho; Orange County, California; Barstow, California; San-Francisco; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Goodyear / Avondale, Arizona; and Albuquerque. In total, the ABO has teams in 30 states.

The organization has grown considerably over the past few years, thanks in part to Duncan’s appearances on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” and NBC’s “TODAY Show” discussing the league. Now that the programs have been proven successful in major cities, expanding into markets like Grand Junction and possibly other cities on the West Slope is the next step.

“It’s about making friendships, developing social skills, developing physical skills, learning to deal with disappointments and dealing with the big things that happen with good sportsmanship,” Duncan said. “It’s about learning to work as a team, because all of these skills are needed in the wonderful and vast world of the job.

“As you get older and find a job in the field in which the players are involved, it is more than likely that they will have to work together. Baseball will really promote these teamwork skills.

It takes around six months to build a team due to a lack of services available in most areas for teens and adults with disabilities, with recruiting coaches, managers, staff and players being a process. virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. .

The first step towards forming a Grand Junction team will be finding a coach / manager and then finding assistants, coaches and players. All positions are as volunteers. The team would likely start playing in the spring of 2022.

Anyone interested in applying to become a Grand Junction Program Coach / Manager can visit https://www.alternativebaseball.org. Click on “register to coach” and arrange to speak with Duncan by phone.

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