jason mcelwain autistic basketba

Jason McElwain – Autistic Basketball Team Manager Finally Gets His Chance

James McElwain, aka “J-Mac”, was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old. Now he is a 5-foot-6 senior at Greece Athena High School in New York and is the manager of the high school’s varsity basketball team.

In the last game of his senior year, Coach Jim Johnson put McElwain on the roster. He did this so that Jason could be given a jersey and accompany his teammates on the bench. Coach Johnson also hoped there would be a chance to get Jason into the game for a few minutes’ playing time.

In this video, watch what happened when the coach gave him his chance. You will never forget J-Mac!

Additional Resources:

  • Here is an article about J-mac and his amazing feat on the basketball court.
  • Here is another video that tells J-Mac’s story.

Topics for Discussion:

  • What is autism? How does it impact a person and their family?
  • What values does J-Mac exhibit? How about his coach?

Take Action:

  • If you had no fear, what things would you do or be? Overcome your fear and go for those things!
  • Visit the Autism Speaks website to learn more about autism and what you can do to help those with this condition.

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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