Chandler Austin was born with Down syndrome. That didn’t stop the Union County (Union, S.C) freshman from living out a dream moment Friday night.
FOX Carolina tells Austin’s inspirational story.
A member of the school’s varsity basketball team, Austin is more than just a manager.
“For him to be given the opportunity to be part of the basketball team as a team member, not as a manager, but to be part of the team, is incredible,” Amy Austin, Chandler’s mom, told FOX Carolina.
While in Taylors, S.C., for Friday night’s Union County game at Eastside, Amy Austin heard people in the home crowd hollering a familiar number in the game’s waning moments.
“They were chanting for them to put number 40 in! Put number 40 in!” said Austin.
And that Union County did.
In the video that Amy Austin posted to Facebook, you can hear the buildup and the cheers as Austin’s shot goes through the net. And you can see him jump for joy.
This was a moment that Chandler’s mother wasn’t sure her son would ever receive.
“It makes us feel good because when he was little we didn’t know that he would have these opportunities,” Austin said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen. He took his first steps at 26 months old. We were told that he may never talk and that he wouldn’t do these things, but he’s doing them.”
His teammates look out for him, too.
“Chandler is like my little brother,” said Union County’s Brandon Thompson. “Our team is one big family and Chandler is part of our family. … When you see somebody like Chandler who loves it so much, it just makes you want to give 110% everyday.”
Junior Kenneth Tucker also sang his teammate’s praises.
“Anything we’re doing, (Chandler)’s doing,” Tucker said, “If we mess up in practice and have to run, he’s running with us. If we’re shooting free throws, he’s right there beside us. If we’re coming in to practice and work on our game, he’s right there beside us every step of the way.”
Behold the power of team, and the power of communities coming together.