Why 200 Colleges Are Recruiting a Teen With Autism
Remember the name Mike Brannigan, because this incredible athlete is on a path to make history.
Mike was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old, according to Running Times. His parents worried about his future until, at age 7, Mike discovered his talent for running. Since then, the sport has given him so much: confidence, a social outlet, a chance to be a normal kid and a bright future.
“It was like the hand of God came down from the sky and shifted our life completely,” Edith Brannigan, his mother, told the outlet. “It changed everything. It gave us hope.”
Now a 17-year-old senior at Northport Public High School in Long Island, New York, Mike is one of the top 10 high school runners in the entire country, according to NBC News. He runs a four-minute and seven-second mile.
“I know what running’s done for Mikey,” Edie Brannigan told the outlet. “It has allowed him to focus… in such a way that his academics soared after he started running. It was something in his brain that was able to calm down and focus on the academics.”
The top college running programs in the nation have not failed to take notice. More than 200 colleges have reached out to him so far, many of them Division One schools.
“It’s gonna end with Mikey being on an Olympic team,” Steven Cuomo, one of his coaches, told Running Times. “I didn’t say a Paralympics team. I said Olympic team. Then we’re gonna blow the lid off what people think these athletes can and cannot do.”
The speedy teen aspires to do exactly that.
“I had a dream… a day dream of them,” he told NBC News. “Wearing my USA jersey, and representing my country… and the whole nation… a whole America watching me.”