Dream come true: Teen thrills crowd when coach puts him in the game

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MENTOR, Ohio- A special honor Tuesday night for a young man with autism.  His dream of playing on his high school basketball team came true.

During the season, Dargan Bristow, 16, serves as a manager for the Riverside High School basketball team.  The freshman wears a jersey, but has not played in a game.

"He's turned into a wonderful child that does a lot for my classroom, for not only the basketball team, but also for the football team. He's a football manager this year as well," said teacher Brynn Ryan.

"This is something that he has had a dream about and it really is exciting not only for him, but for all of us to actually see this come true," said Cheryl Lanning, Director of Pupil Services for the Riverside Local Schools in Painesville.

Near the end of the fourth quarter in a Tuesday night game against Mentor, coach Rossi Santo put Dargan in the game.

Dargan wasted no time showing he earned his time on the court; he hit a three-pointer.

"My favorite sport. I really enjoy doing it because I get to meet new people and play," he said.

Dargan said he was surprised when the coach called him to the floor.  He thrilled the crowd with a second three-point play.   He said the entire time, he thought about how he would perform. “How good I was gonna do and how good I was gonna do it," he said.

Mentor's coach even gave Dargan the game ball. "You did an excellent job today. I'd take you on my team any day of the week," said coach Chris Parsons.

"His social skills have not always been best, but because he's been doing the football, basketball, he's just bloomed, and he feels good about himself," said his grandmother Diana Bristow.

Dargan's grandparents, who are raising him, say more important than having autism, he has drive and determination. "He's a team member and he wanted to belong to something and now he can," said his grandfather Mike Bristow.

Dargan Bristow’s grandparents said they lived out of state before moving to Ohio.  They said Dargan was not allowed to play on organized school teams.

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