Nashville middle school basketball team helps team manager become star player

(Submitted to Fox 17 News)

For children with special needs, sports moments can be few and far between if they come at all.

Clay Abernathy, an eighth grader at Nashville's J.T. Moore Middle School made a memory he will likely never forget this week.

Abernathy, who has autism, serves as the manager on the school's basketball team. On Tuesday night, he became a star player.

"All I wanted to see was him get a shot off,” said Clay's father Rick Abernathy. "That he made the first shot was wow."

With two minutes left in a game against H.G. Hill Middle, Clay Abernathy got his chance to play. His teammates fed him the ball, and not only did Clay make one shot, he made three.

“I remember looking up at the clock and there’s about five seconds left thinking 'oh I don’t think he’ll get the shot off,'" Abernathy said. "He did get the shot off and he made it."

Afterward, Clay Abernathy ran to the locker room to celebrate with his teammates. When he saw the video, Rick Abernathy says his son said "they're cheering for me."

Rick Abernathy said it's a moment he will never forget and reminds him there's still a lot of good in the world.

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