Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers tackle Mike McGlinchey opens up about his support of autism awareness

Nov 29, 2018 at 11:08 AM--

More than 800 NFL players will showcase custom cleats during Week 13 as part of the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign in support of causes important to them. San Francisco 49ers rookie tackle Mike McGlinchey will be among those players sporting custom shoes when he takes the field at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

McGlinchey's game-day cleats will feature a design in honor of autism awareness, a cause that is close to home for the standout rookie tackle. He joined 95.7 The Game on Wednesday night and shared that his younger brother, Jimmy, has autism, and why the NFL campaign means so much to him.

"It means the world to me, and Jimmy, he's a rock and the light of our family, and he always has been," McGlinchey told Damon Bruce. "It means the world to me that I'm able to physically represent him not only with the name on my back but with his name on my shoes. It's cool for our family. Jimmy is our favorite guy. He's the best part of our family, and he keeps us all grounded.

"Growing up with him was nothing but the best. He gives us all perspective on how to truly enjoy and what's truly important about life. Like I said, I couldn't be more proud to be representing that cause, and for him, and for my family."

Bruce asked McGlinchey what he knows about autism that others might not.

"My mom actually got into early intervention when Jimmy was diagnosed," McGlinchey responded. "A couple of years later, after he had gone through school and stuff, she started working in special ed. She was a teacher by trade. She was a Catholic school teacher, so she switched over to special ed after Jim.

"The thing that she always preaches and talks about is that parents should never be in denial. It's not like a kiss of death. It's not something to be ashamed of if your child has autism. It's a blessing, and it's certainly a gift that your family probably doesn't know yet, but you'll figure it out later down the road. Jimmy has been nothing but that.

"The one thing that my family and my mom specifically always preaches is don't be ashamed of that. Don't be in denial. Seek help for your child. The earlier you can get on it, the better their outcome is going to be. We've found that out with Jimmy, and he's doing great."

You can listen to the entire conversation with McGlinchey below.


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