Former NBA foward Tony Snell, who currently plays in G League’s Maine Celtics, recently received an eye-opening diagnosis that is changing his life for good. It took him 31 year of age to finally understand that he suffers from autism, which explains many things about his behavior.
The veteran player opened up about how we found out, as him as his wife Ashley were noticing his son Karter wasn’t reaching some basic development milestones, at least in comparison to other kids his age. Their doctor then recommended them to get him tested for autism.
Check out Snell’s latest interview where he explains why his son’s diagnosis made him reflect on his own personality growing up:
“I was always independent growing up, I’ve always been alone. … I just couldn’t connect with people [on] the personal side of things,” he told Craig Melvin, the “Today” show co-host. “I’m like, if [Karter] is diagnosed, then I think I am too… That gave me the courage to go get checked up.”
After they decided to test young Karter, the basketball athlete decided to try out for himself at age 31, only to realize that he also shared the autism spectrum disorder, which is defined as “a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.”
It is common to perceive the first signs of autism around ages 2-3, according to the Autism Speaks organization. Nevertheless, usually symptoms can be missed because pediatricians are not always sure to diagnose before giving the child more time to develop.
“I was not surprised because I always felt different… It was just relief, like, oh, this why I am the way I am,” Snell said of his situation. “It just made my whole life, everything about my life, make so much sense. It was like a clarity, like putting some 3D glasses on.”
The G League star admits that if he was diagnosed when he was young, it would of hindered him due to social stigma
Back in the day, autism used to be surrounded by negative stigma and lack of awareness, so Snell is relieved to be handed the diagnosis at this point in his life. He believes he’d be much more shy if he knew back then, and could’ve hindered his confidence.
“I think I [would’ve] probably been limited with the stuff I could probably do… I don’t think I’d have been in the NBA if I was diagnosed with autism because back then they’d probably put a limit or cap on my abilities,” he confessed.
Ever since he found out he’s autistic, the G League athlete decided to partner up with the Special Olympics as he’s hoping to become a role model for others in his same situation. He expects to break the shame that young talents might believe they aren’t capable of reaching their dreams.
“I just want to change lives and inspire people. I want to make sure my son knows that I have his back,” Snell told the press. “When I was a kid, I felt different … but now I could show him that I’m right here with you, [and] we’re going to ride this thing together. We’re going to grow together, and we’re going to accomplish a lot of things together.”
Source: Basketball Insider