Teen With Autism Kicks Winning Field Goal to Lead San Fernando High School to League Championship

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Alec Messing, a 16-year-old boy with autism, led the San Fernando High School football team to a league championship by scoring a 32-yard field goal to beat Sylmar High School.

With four seconds to go and the score tied 13-13, Messing kicked the game-winning field goal in last week's game. His team won the Valley Mission League Championship as a result of the victory.

Alec's mother told KTLA her son was diagnosed with autism as a child, and said the path he took to get to where he is today was sometimes difficult.

Because of his special needs, Alec does not attend San Fernando High School, going instead to The Help Group in Sherman Oaks.

Since his school doesn't have a traditional athletic program, Alec was allowed by California Interscholastic Federation rules to play at his home school. The catch: he had to try out and make the team first.

Alec successfully did that, making the varsity team last year. As his second year on the team draws to a close, he told KTLA his love of the game has given him bigger aspirations.

"I just gotta make sure to keep kicking and ... just keep making sure I keep practicing kicking, to kick even better and stuff like that, and hope I could play college, and then professional," he said.

The teen added that he hopes to turn his struggles into inspiration for other children and teen's with special needs.

His football coach, David Rountree, said he has done just that.

"Whatever it is you may have, it shows that you can still be a part of everything and people shouldn't judge you. And [the players] don't judge Alec. They let him come out here and be what he is," Rountree said.


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