Little Miami high schoolers celebrate student manager with autism

Matty B is a stats whiz who dreams one day of helping the Reds win a World Series.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 8:43 PM EDT
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MORROW, Ohio (WXIX) - Little Miami High School softball team held a fundraiser Tuesday to spread awareness about autism in honor of their 16-year-old student manager.

Matthew Benick—”Matty B”—didn’t speak until the age of 3. Now he’s a sports encyclopedia with dreams of studying sports administration and returning to work for the Reds.

“Statistics, I’m just like ‘click, click, click,’” Matty said. “It’s sort of just what my brain was wired for.”

Matty’s autism diagnosis has pushed him to step up to the plate and achieve success in the dugout.

“He’s so smart, and he’s so good at statistics, and he’s so good at analysis and memory, so it’s really cool to see that these things that came with his diagnosis are now causing him to find niches he’s really good at,” said assistant softball coach Naomi Patten.

The softball team’s fundraiser Tuesday was its second to raise money for Autism Speaks.

“It’s really cool to have a day to celebrate him,” softball player Anna Trimble said of Matty, “because he celebrates us every day at our games.”

Matty says it’s important to get the word out that those with autism aren’t different from anyone else.

It wasn’t always that way, according to his mother, Dionna Benick.

“I can’t describe what we see in Matty now versus what he—who he was before he came back to this school,” she said.

Dionna says when Matty was young, he wasn’t very functional. He couldn’t even go to a restaurant because he was overstimulated.

But now he thrives in a sea of cheering people.

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