WATCH: NKY boy fulfills dream of starting, scoring in basketball game

‘Trust in the school, trust in the students, and you will be amazed at what happens.’
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 11:04 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2023 at 8:07 AM EST
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BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - A teenage boy’s dream came true Friday night at Ryle High School in Union when he suited up and played in the game alongside his basketball teammates.

It’s a moment Jacob Arnold’s family never thought would happen because of his medical condition—Jacob has Prader–Willi syndrome.

It happened on senior night, when the Ryle Raiders offered Jacob, a team manager who attends every game and practice, the chance to score a bucket.

“I was surprised,” Jacob said, “but I was excited.

Jacob’s father, Mark calls his initial diagnosis “grim,” saying doctors told them Jacob would be institutionalized and unable to care for himself by the time he reached his teenage years.

Mark says seeing Jacob thriving gets him emotional.

“For Jacob, it’s all about inclusion,” Mark said. “He just wants to be like everyone else.”

Before entering the game, Jacob was honored alongside his fellow senior players. Then he was announced as a starter, and the crowd erupted.

“I know for the football team, how much Jake meant to them, and also to the basketball guys,” Mark said. “So when Coach Dorning came to us and said the guys want to do this, I was all in... like, ‘Let’s go!’ We’re all in on this because it’s amazing to see all of our students included.”

When Jacob left the game having scored a bucket, the crowd gave him a standing ovation and chanted his name.

“Trust in the school, trust in the students, and you will be amazed at what happens,” Mark said.

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