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14-year-old with Asperger’s honored for admirable sportsmanship

The Bow Athletic Club yesterday awarded one of its annual Wheeler awards to Jack Rich, a 14-year-old basketball player who doctors once predicted would be unable to participate in team sports because of a developmental disorder, his mother, Jean Rich, said.

The award is given to an eighth-grade boy and girl who play on a Bow Memorial School or club-sponsored team. Jack, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was nominated by his coaches for his dedication to the team, admirable sportsmanship and positive impact on his fellow teammates, his mother said.

“That Jack has excelled at a team sport while having this disability speaks volumes for how great Bow and the Bow Athletic Club is toward inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities,” Jean Rich said.

She noted that one of the highlights from Jack’s season came when he hit a “buzzer-beating” three-point shot at the end of a game.

“Everyone in the crowd on both sides was cheering and smiling,” she said.

By winning the award, Jack received a plaque and a $100 savings bond.

Correction: An earlier version misstated that Asperger syndrome is a behavioral disorder. It is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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