Special needs student thrives on basketball team

Special needs student thrives on basketball team

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) - What constitutes a winning season?

Many would say it's all about a team's record and statistics.

But one high school basketball team measures success a little differently thanks to a special player.

Fredericktown High School Junior Jordon Polete was born with very little chance of survival.

Doctors said if he lived he would most likely never walk, much less play basketball.

But instead, this young man beat the odds and is impacting strangers with his strength of character.

Sometimes fans and players can leave the competition behind.

In Tuesday's game against Sikeston, Jordon Polete took the floor.

Then coaches, players and referees give him the chance to get on the board.

"It was a really fun experience for a kid like me," said Jordon. "And if any other kid gets a chance to do it I would support them too."

Jordon was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at birth, which can be a deadly disorder where fluid builds up in the brain.

Jordon has been in physical therapy his entire life to build motor skills affected by the disease.

Now he's finding new ways to get active.

"I just love playing it you know," he said. "We live right across from the park so we have a basketball court up there and you know I just like playing basketball."

Last year he was the team's manager.

This year, Jordon says it was time to take the next step and try out.

"I can really tell when he's in the game we're all trying to dive for lose balls, trying to get the ball back to get some shots in for him," said senior Nathan Simpson. "And it's really brought an extra motivation to our team."

It's not always about titles or trophies.

Sometimes it's about heart.

"You know it really touches my heart and it makes me a little emotional to see Nathan to take care of this young man, Jordon; to make a difference in his life," said coach Jason McMurry. "You know he's an unselfish person and instrumental for our success. We're 0-9 right now, but I tell you we have a whole other win to celebrate bigger than basketball, a life. And I'm just thankful, as a coach, I get to be a part of that."

"I kinda look at it as a really special friendship," Nathan said. "I know he has special needs and that's what really gets me. If I see a person in need I always help. And on the court I'm always looking out for him. I know where he is at all times. And I love him. He's a great kid. He's a really great kid."

Jordon's parents said his confidence level has sky-rocketed since he's become a member of the team.

They also said they're so thankful to everyone who helps make Jordon's dream a reality.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.