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Brick Kicker To Be Featured On ESPN Saturday

Anthony Starego, the autistic student who kicked a game-winning field goal, is the subject of a segment to be shown at 10:45 a.m. on College Gameday

Anthony Starego, the Brick High School football kicker whose game-winning field goal grabbed headlines because he is autistic, is the subject of an ESPN segment that will air tomorrow on the network's College Gameday show.

College Gameday airs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The segment on Anthony is set to air about 10:45 a.m., his father, Ray Starego said late Friday.

Starego's story gained attention after a video of his game-winning kick and his reaction afterward was posted on YouTube. His field goal lifted Brick, which had been struggling through a rough season, to an upset victory over Toms River North, which at the time was ranked No. 4 in the Shore Conference.

His story, however, reached beyond the sports pages. In addition to being diagnosed as autistic, Anthony -- who was essentially nonverbal -- was hypersensitive to touch and had other issues that had earned him a label: unadoptable. That's where the Staregos came in, adopting Anthony, in what was just the first step of an inspiring journey.

After Anthony's heroics, the family appeared on The TODAY Show and was contacted by other media outlets as well, including ESPN, Ray Starego, Anthony's father, said. They also were contacted by a number of other groups and people, including Jeremy Ito, the Rutgers kicker whose game-winning field goal against Louisville inspired Anthony to want to be a kicker.

ESPN sent a film crew to the following week's game, a heartbreaking 6-3 loss to Lacey where the Lions scored the winning touchdown as time expired. Until the last seconds of the game, Starego's field goal was the only points either team had been able to muster.

Hurricane Sandy disrupted the shooting schedule, but ESPN producer Kory Kozak, who played football at Rutgers, stuck with the story, spending a week with Anthony and his family after the storm, Ray Starego said. The crew also interviewed Anthony's coaches and teachers.

Ray Starego said his hope is that the attention Anthony's story is receiving will inspire others -- families of autistic children, adoptive parents, and even those who view themselves as having limitations -- to see the possibilities.

"We never expected anything like this," Ray Starego said, of the attention Anthony's story has received. "We want to share what helped us with others."

Rich H November 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM
What an inspiring story, Anthony, my hat comes off to you. Best of everything to you and your wonderful parents down the road
Leave it on the Field November 24, 2012 at 04:21 PM
A houseful of people in my Ocean County, NJ neighborhood just watched the ESPN Special honoring this amazing young man and his wonderful parents! What an inspiring story! Hats off to everyone in the Brick School System for supporting Anthony's journey & cheering him on. You remind all of us that when a young boy & man has the opportunity to live among giants in his community - anything is possible. We are thankful for all of you.
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