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Autism is a disorder that affects countless people.
According to the Autism Society, it is estimated that nearly 1.5 million people in the United States live with the effects of an autistic spectrum disorder. The Autism Society goes on to estimate that the expense of caring for an autistic individual could be between $3.5-5 million. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states in a report released in 2009, that one out of every 110 births will result in a child with autism, with one in every 70 being boys. This rising epidemic is becoming more of a concern for parents every day, and millions of dollars of research are being invested to find a cause or a cure for this disorder.
On Jan. 14-15, the Marion County girls basketball program will be hosting an Autism Awareness Classic that will feature 12 teams from all around the commonwealth, including Marion County. According to Stacey Hall, athletic director at Marion County High School, the tournament was originally part of a series of games played in early 2000 between Owensboro Catholic and Mercer County because both head coaches had sons with autism. Hall coached at Mercer County and Mike Orr coached at Owensboro Catholic at that time. Orr has since taken the head coaching job at Hancock County, a team in the field, and will be bringing his 18-year-old autistic son with him to the classic.
Hall went on to say that along with the games during the tournament, there will also be a silent auction. Jamie Brown's AP psychology class has put together brochures containing information about autism that will be passed out to fans at the games. Brown's class has also designed posters and a PowerPoint presentation containing similar information that will be shown to everyone at the classic to educate them about this rising epidemic. Proceeds from the classic will go toward the Lady Knights basketball program and also toward a drawing for an autistic family to go on a weekend getaway.
Passes will not be accepted as admission to the tournament, and the price for a game ticket will be $6. However, all autistic children that want to come to the classic will be admitted free along with their parents. Autistic families in attendance will be recognized throughout the tournament.
A full schedule of tournament games is listed below.
Friday, Jan. 14
Marion County JV vs. Mercer Co. JV 6:30 p.m.
Mercer County vs. Hancock Co. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 15
Danville Christian vs. North Hardin Christian 1 p.m.
Franklin Co. vs. Casey Co. 2:45 p.m.
Washington Co. vs. North Hardin 4:30 p.m.
Mercy vs. Madison Central 6:15 p.m.
Marion Co. vs. Ballard 8 p.m.
All other questions about the classic can be directed to Stacey Hall at MCHS at (270) 692-6066.