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NKY high school football player with rare condition meets, inspires young boy with same condition

Aaron, 6, met Hunter Kinney a Mason County High School football player.
Aaron, 6, met Hunter Kinney a Mason County High School football player.(Daoud, Natalya | WXIX)
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 2:51 PM EDT
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MAYSVILLE, Ky. (WXIX) - A Northern Kentucky high school football player born with a rare hand defect got to meet a 6-year-old boy he inspired.

Hunter Kinney, a football player for Mason County High School, and 6-year-old Aaron were both born with symbrachydactyly, said Aaron’s mom, Elizabeth Jones.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, symbrachydactyly is a rare hand defect in which the fingers fail to grow properly, causing them to be very short, webbed, or conjoined.

In a Facebook post, Elizabeth says when her son was born, she feared Aaron would not handle the real world.

So as her son got older, she tried to find notable people who have a similar condition.

Elizabeth says she never thought her son would meet someone who shares his condition so close to home.

Aaron’s uncle and football coach for Mason County High School, Brandon Combess, knew that he had a player who has a similar condition as Aaron. According to Elizabeth, Combess set up the meeting.

“On their first meeting, though it was brief, Aaron instantly became awestruck, and Aarons’ world has changed for the better because of it,” Elizabeth said in the post.

Aaron met Hunter for the second time on Thursday while wearing a shirt with the No. 6 on the back to show his support for his favorite player.

Aaron, 6, watches his favorite Mason County High School football player.
Aaron, 6, watches his favorite Mason County High School football player.(WXIX)

“This kind young man has given Aaron something that I will never be able to pay him back for. He’s given my son hope, encouragement, and the knowledge that he can do anything and be accepted by anyone, and Hunter has done nothing more than be himself,” Elizabeth said.

She then adds:

“To see Aarons whole face light up and his eyes sparkle whenever he sees Hunter, on or off-field, means so much to me as a mother. After the last couple of weeks with kids bullying him over his hand, last night’s game and watching the way my son hardly took his eyes off #6 melted my heart and reassured me that Aaron would be just fine.

“My son now aspires to play football and do whatever Hunter does. Hunter has shown Aaron a path of infinite possibilities, and for that, I am eternally grateful.”

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