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Chattanooga man will be first American with autism to compete at World Karate Championships

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Ryan Rogers is the first person from Chattanooga to qualify for the World Karate Championships, and he'll be the first American with autism to compete.

Rogers qualified in July for the World Karate Championships by winning silver in the disabled Kata division and he'll be one of the first athletes to compete on the para karate team.

Rogers, 27, said he doesn't let his autism diagnosis hold him back on the mat.

"I didn't know I was walking around with autism for 20, back then for about 23 years," Rogers said.

Rogers is already an accomplished black belt in karate and he will now be one of three disabled athletes to represent the United States at the World Karate Championships.

The championships will be in Austria, the first time Rogers will be traveling outside of the country.

Ryan's Sensei, Corey Green said he teaches anyone who is willing to learn, and specializes in teaching those with disabilities.

"I think it's going to be unprecedented what Ryan's about to do and I think that will open his eyes to the world and will show what people with autism can do," Green said, "and I do believe Ryan has it in him to win the gold medal for the World Championships but we still got training to do, we got a little more work to do."

Green believes karate can be a form of therapy. Therapy that can earn Rogers a gold medal.

"It pretty much helped me calm my body and it actually helped calm my mind, control my mind, to a point to where you pretty much have control over this, don't let this control you," Rogers said.

Rogers will compete at the World Championships in Austria in October. He said his next big dream will be to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Sensei Green created a Go Fund Me page to help pay for Roger's travel expenses to compete.

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