Thompson HS autistic student has a new role: From team manager to basketball player

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 11:27 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2022 at 8:28 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - One in 54 children is now affected by autism. Thompson High School freshman Peyton Grillo is one of them, but his disability does not define him, as Peyton is the team manager for the Warriors varsity basketball team. For a night, on Feb. 1, 2022, he will not be a manager, but rather a player in the starting rotation for Head Coach Dru Powell’s team.

“I was just fired up when coach told me,” said Grillo. “When I first learned I had autism, was almost 10 years after I was diagnosed. I was devastated, but then I realized I could be an inspiration to others.”

“He helps out our team in so many ways,” said Powell. “He is one of the members of the team, and he works so hard, so this was not a difficult decision for us to want to do.”

Peyton will be in the starting line-up against Helena at 7 p.m. He will be introduced over the PA system and get a chance to score some points in a real game.

Thompson basketball is hosting its Shooting 2Change narrative for autism awareness. If you cannot attend the game and want to help the cause with support or donation, you can visit this link.

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