Teen with Autism Becomes Inspirational Wrestler.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - It is normal for a parent to fear their child many never live a typical life if he or she is diagnosed with autism. A 16-year-old from Bloomington has an inspirational story that helps calm those fears.

It is not uncommon for children with autism to participate in sports like golf or tennis, but with many having sensory issues, it's rare for them to wrestle. But one move at a time, Ben Cousins is being a voice for kids with autism.
Passion and determination are words Cousins lives by.

"I love the competition," said Cousins. "I love being able to work hard and having it pay off in the end."

At 160 pounds, the junior wrestler at Kennedy High School in Bloomington is working hard to achieving his goal of a division one scholarship and not letting anything get in the way, including autism.

"I'm doing a lot better than what my mom or parents or anyone could have expected of me and I'm proud to say that."

Cousins was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old and there were times he was deemed a dangerous child. He even had a phobia of being touched. But through therapies and hard work he's overcome his fears.

In his 30 years coaching, Chuck Vavrosky's says Cousin's the first wrestler with autism he's ever worked with.

"I had some doubts about what he could accomplish and what he could do," said Vavrosky.

Those doubts quickly diminished. Now he feels Cousins is a role model.

"If everyone in my wrestling room worked as hard as he does when they come in everyone would achieve high standards."

This summer, Cousins' determination paid off. He qualified for the Minnesota U.S.A Cadet National Team.

While he didn't win his weight class he stood toe to toe with wrestlers from across the country, he believes sports opened the doors to a new life.

Now he wants to be an inspiration to other children with autism.

"I'm really glad to be a voice I feel honored to let everyone know there's just hope, everyone can be something special."
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