Vincent Award #42: Josh Bailey

Lakeland offensive lineman Josh Bailey  (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier Detroit Free Press)

This week's Vincent Award goes to Josh Bailey. Josh is the captain of the football team at Lakeland High School and he is autistic. His appointment as team captain was not done as an honorary thing, he totally earned it. Josh is one of the hardest working members of the team. Josh has this to say about being autistic and playing football:

"I'm autistic and proud, I'm not afraid to be open about it. I've been through a lot through autism. I turned it from something that hindered me as a child and now I can show people, 'Hey, a kid with autism is making it in football.' "

To put Josh's accomplishment in perspective, having someone with autism play a team sport at this level of competitiveness is extremely rare. Dr. Tisa Johnson, the medical director for Henry Ford's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, explains how rare a feat this really is:

"I haven't seen any — none, I have never met an autistic child who is able to participate in a team sport, truly of his own initiative. I've certainly seen some parents push their kids, and they are the reason they may be on an elementary team, and it has been a struggle. Typically, by the teen years, it falls by the wayside."

Keep pushing the boundaries Josh, you show us all that we have so much more potential than we think we do!

The original story can found at the Detroit Free Press.

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