Saturday, November 21, 2009

Top women's college bowler says her Asperger's helps her focus

From the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska. Here's a TV news story about Leuthold from ABC News Campus Chatter.

When Nebraska bowler Cassandra Leuthold (pictured) is on the lanes, she’s focused.

The senior anchor for the national champion Huskers takes her shots and walks away.

Even after three straight strikes to end a game against Valparaiso on Thursday at the Big Red Invitational at Sun Valley Lanes, the Black Hawk, S.D., native did the expected high-fives and walked away.

Leuthold suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperger’s patients are high-functioning, but act different in social situations.

“With Asperger’s, they have to teach people to behave normally,” Leuthold said. “(On the lanes), it’s easier for me to tune things out and focus. It’s a system where people go off into their own world.

“And it’s very beneficial to me.”

Leuthold, who anchored NU to the NCAA championship last spring, will be one of the subjects of a documentary that is being produced by ABC Television. The program is expected to air during the holiday season.

Leuthold, who did an interview for the documentary before Thursday’s competition, said she was chosen because of her uniqueness.

“At the end of the interview, they said they would use my image to promote the documentary. I guess it’s because I dress a little differently than most bowlers,” Leuthold said. “They usually don’t see that punk rock/rocker image in a bowler and I guess they thought it was unique.”

But whatever image Leuthold has, it’s been good for the Huskers over the years.

Leuthold has won seven tournament titles in her career, as well as being named the most valuable player in the NCAA Championships.

And Leuthold will be looked upon during the final two days of the tournament, as top-ranked Nebraska is fifth with a total pinfall of 2,925.