Skip to Main Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer Navigation
Give Now

Make a Difference

Alum, Basketball Team Raise Autism Awareness

Can a basketball game make a difference in the life of a child?

Pat Skerry, A92, AG95, thinks so. The autism awareness effort he started at Towson University as head coach of menís basketball has quickly evolved into a national event supported by his peers. Coaches and basketball teams take time at regularly scheduled games to bring greater notice to autism and to raise research funds in support of this condition that affects 1 in 68 U.S. children.

Itís an issue that strikes home for Skerry, whose five-year-old son, Owen, is on the autism spectrum. On February 7 of this year, Coaches Powering Forward for Autism involved teams across the country, including Tufts Universityís Jumbos. At its game, the basketball team highlighted the work of the School of Medicine, home to one of the nationís top-ranked neuroscience departments. Investigators from the department, including Philip Haydon, the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor of Neuroscience and department chair, were introduced at halftime, while fans made donations to support the schoolís research.

"I am thrilled that autism research is a priority at Tufts, my alma mater," Skerry says. "Research like what is done at Tufts is so important in determining what causes autism.Ē

Tufts basketball coach Bob Sheldon is proud of his former point guard and assistant coach. ďWhen I heard what Pat was doing, I wrote him and said I was so happy he was a part of the Tufts family,Ē he says. ďIím not surprised heís trying to change things. Heís always been a go-getter and hard worker. It was important for us to be a part of this because itís a big part of Tufts research. But itís also because of Pat. He puts a face on the cause and brings it home to my players.Ē