Jazz’s Joe Ingles helping spread autism awareness
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles is best known for his sharpshooting and sky-high basketball IQ, but he is also quite the activist off the court. In an interview with The Athletic’s Sam Amick this week, Ingles took the opportunity to speak on a cause that is important to him: Autism awareness.
Ingles has a 3-year-old son named Jacob who’s autistic. Because both his mom and dad work in crowded, loud spaces, Jacob was frequently overwhelmed by the raucous workplace environment.
To combat this, Ingles and the Jazz have worked on creating “sensory rooms” that allow Jacob to take in games comfortably and watch his dad play without having to worry about the surrounding distractions that come with sitting in a big stadium.
The Jazz installed one at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah, and now Marvel Arena in Melbourne has one as well. Team USA just played Australia at Marvel Arena and will play again on Saturday.
Ingles is proud about the development of these sensory rooms:
“That was a really cool accomplishment that we didn’t really ever think we’d get, and I guess it’s just a lot of that stuff now, of helping other people. Our whole mindset behind it is, ‘Why shouldn’t Jacob or his family feel comfortable going to these events (rather than) not being able to enjoy it? If me, Renae and the twins go, and Jacob’s not having a good time, I can take him into the sensory room and I can still watch the basketball and football on the screen that we’ve put in there, but Jacob is also (ok). The anxiety and the noise and the colors, whatever it is that he’s not enjoying – he can go to a very safe space where he can really enjoy the event that’s on.”
Good for Ingles for looking out for a part of the community that has just as much right to enjoy a game of basketball as any other NBA fan.