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Jayo
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29 May 2015, 8:55 pm

I'm wondering if it's possible for an athletic Aspie to exist - bucking the cultural stereotype. Not that they'd be Olympians or major league sports hot-shots, but higher-than-average athletic.

While I'm in good shape from weightlifting, biking, swimming, etc over many years and hardly look scrawny or chubby, I'm still not really athletic. :)

I have heard isolated stories here and there about people with AS being athletic: there's Clay Marzo the surfer, there was a young Canadian man called Jordan Morrison with Aspergers, who was described by his friends as being "very athletic" and a "talented skateboarder". Sadly, Jordan was tragically murdered while on a trip in the Dominican Republic, but appeared to be unrelated to his having Aspergers - rather he intervened when a young woman was being harassed, and got beaten to death (Google "Jordan Morrison Aspergers" and you'll see.) Another example was a young man with Aspergers who ran the marathon every year in his city (but I don't recall the article saying how well he placed, other than the fact that he finished).

I suppose there are always exceptions, just like Jewish and East Indian people are not typically thought of as "athletic types", there are some out there for sure. But like Aspies, they're probably a much lower percentage as compared to the proportion of NTs who are athletic and don't fall into said ethnic categories.



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29 May 2015, 8:57 pm

Sure, AS people can do anything. :)

Are you wanting to be an athlete?


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Jayo
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29 May 2015, 10:39 pm

screen_name wrote:
Sure, AS people can do anything. :)

Are you wanting to be an athlete?


No. It was out of sheer curiosity. While I believe that AS people can do anything, short of being a politician or sales executive, gearing up to become an athlete would likely be more taxing than it would for an NT, who already has a foundation of motor coordination and spontaneous spatial navigation, plus they tend to have higher muscle tone on average from my observations. Thus it would likely be prohibitive for someone with AS to do so, knowing the opportunity cost (in time) of focusing on other pursuits that are more conventionally within their grasp.



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29 May 2015, 11:56 pm

Clay Marzo surfer


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a_dork
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31 May 2015, 5:53 am

Low muscle tone is strongly correlated with autism, and while it allows flexibility, it can also come with poor coordination. Also, since many athletic activities involve team sports, an Aspie may not be as inclined to participate in them. The people you mention specialize in individual activities, like surfing and skateboarding.


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Jayo
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31 May 2015, 8:19 am

a_dork wrote:
Low muscle tone is strongly correlated with autism, and while it allows flexibility, it can also come with poor coordination. Also, since many athletic activities involve team sports, an Aspie may not be as inclined to participate in them. The people you mention specialize in individual activities, like surfing and skateboarding.


Yes, it does seem to be correlated; but correlation does not necessarily equal causation. I could be wrong but I don't think that autism affects the endocrine system (specifically the thyroid gland), more likely is that people with autism feel so disenfranchised and alienated from the institutions of society (e.g. sports, dating), that they don't bother to improve their physique, whereas young NT males who know they've got a chance in these realms will actually work on muscle buildup.

All in all, it's still one of the areas of autism research that (based on my web searches at least) hasn't been conclusively proven. In fact, it's not even among the (secondary) diagnostic criteria for a spectrum condition. Some professionals may conclude that there's a physical impact on the subject, but a more root cause explanation may be a self-preservation mechanism due to anxiety and sensory issues, the subject may not want to engage in physical activity as a child (thus, to build muscle tone). See this URL below, which explains one such case quite well:

https://autismandoughtisms.wordpress.co ... -superman/



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31 May 2015, 12:37 pm

I think so. My former school had a great athlete who even got a county hall of fame award scholarship thing and he was an Aspie. He's known as one of the best basketball players we ever had.
I play American football in a neighborhood league and I think I'm pretty good at it. Team sports are hard, but I think we can be good at them, anyways.



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31 May 2015, 1:15 pm

We can definitely be athletic. Due to my poor co-ordination I avoided ball and team sports at school, but always enjoyed running. In my late 20s and early 30s I completed a number of short races, half marathons, marathons and ultramarathons ( in progressive stages) as well as seven of our famous annual ultra of just under 90 km. Fourteen years later I did three more of these to make it ten and get my permanent number. Then I skipped a few years including this year. I'm planning to be there again next year, which gives me exactly a year to prepare as this years' was run today.

Running is a great sport as it trains both mind and body and although I have to be more careful as I have had a number of falls during training runs, scoring bloody knees and carrying on running as though nothing happened and once knocked my watch off my arm by running too close to a lamp post :lol: (don't always know where I am in relation to things around me) I have never considered stopping running.


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31 May 2015, 5:54 pm

Absolutely! When I was younger I ran a 4.5-5 minute mile regularly. I am great handling a football; I'm a phenomenal receiver and I can throw 50 yards with accuracy. The problem is, I can only excel like this in 1 on 1 or small group settings, such as playing throw and catch with a friend or two. I cannot play team sports and the full speed of the game is too much for me to process while actually playing.



cato4797
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31 May 2015, 9:24 pm

Breaking Enigma wrote:
Absolutely! When I was younger I ran a 4.5-5 minute mile regularly. I am great handling a football; I'm a phenomenal receiver and I can throw 50 yards with accuracy. The problem is, I can only excel like this in 1 on 1 or small group settings, such as playing throw and catch with a friend or two. I cannot play team sports and the full speed of the game is too much for me to process while actually playing.


Dude thats really fast. I never got below 5:50.

But yea, I dont see why aspies can't be athletes. I'm not a bad skier (my favorite trails are all blacks and double blacks), and I'm also a pretty decent skipper when it comes to high school sailing (albeit being really bad at racing).



justanothersara
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31 May 2015, 9:30 pm

I can't even run. People make fun of how I run. I used to think I just had something "off" with my gait but... now I think it might be related to being Aspie, if that's a thing. I walk ok, but when I run I look... well, people have used the word "special" and didn't mean it in a nice way.



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01 Jun 2015, 2:49 am

Don't worry about what others think! I probably look a little awkward, not really sure how I look to others but some folk have such an easy relaxed style. The female Russian twins who run our famous ultra marathon every year have a rather awkward uncomfortable look about their gait but are darn god runners, always ending up well within the top 10 ladies and one or the other has often won.


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EzraS
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01 Jun 2015, 3:29 am

I've been in schools for kids with autism my whole life and many of them were athletic. Not the majority for sure, but plenty. I remember one severely autistic kid who was amazing at gymnastics.

As for myself, I have trouble with just walking.



Last edited by EzraS on 01 Jun 2015, 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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01 Jun 2015, 3:33 am

I would say that most high-performance athletes are Aspies. I used to engage in Olympic-level training myself for my Kung Fu requirements. Took a whole 14 hours just complete all of my physical-exercise requirements (IF I were to do all of them in one day).


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01 Jun 2015, 11:16 am

Ban-Dodger wrote:
I would say that most high-performance athletes are Aspies. I used to engage in Olympic-level training myself for my Kung Fu requirements. Took a whole 14 hours just complete all of my physical-exercise requirements (IF I were to do all of them in one day).


While the hyperfocus needed to be a high performance athlete argues for more aspies in that category motor coordination problems are a common co-morbid of Autism(or a diagnostic criteria for Aspergers according to Gillberg)would argue for less aspies being high performance athletes so probably aspies are probably not over or underrepresented by a large amount.


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