Jason McElwain -- Autistic Basketball Hero (Updated)
Posted Sep 14 2008 5:32pm
(Posted by Patrick Sullivan Jr., orginally on 2/24/06. Bumped to top on 3/1/06, and again on 3/2)
Scott Shoemaker pointed me to a great story about a high school basketball team manager named Jason McElwain who suited up to play the last few minutes of the last home game of the season and sunk 6 of 10 3-pointers. The catch? Jason is autistic. Politics and mercury-controversy aside, this is just a great story that puts a smile on your face.
"I ended my career on the right note," [Jason] told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. "I was really hotter than a pistol!"
It's on the front page of AOL news and is getting lots of "This is the 'Rudy' of high school basketball" type blog postings. It'll get more.
You HAVE to watch the video (and maybe even a few times), but please come back and read the rest...
UPDATE 3/1/06: Since we seem to be getting a lot of google traffic on the term "Jason McElwain" (and a TON of traffic from Jeff Goldstein's post ) for those obviously interested in such a great, heart-warming story, allow me to introduce you to another side of autism. When you say "autism," most people think of Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. A bit quirky, but genius level person.
Not all autism is like that. Autism is a spectrum disorder and those on the more disabling side of the spectrum suffer with more than just being "quirky." They have gastro issues, stimming, trouble sleeping, tantrums, screaming for no reason, stare into space for hours, irrational fears, etc.
Austism started being diagnosed in 1931 and the cause of autism has pretty much evaded medical scientists since then. In only the last few years, a few hundred autistic kids have had many or all their symptoms abate using a biomedical treatment called chelation that removes heavy metals, in particular mercury, from their body. These kids become "neurotypical" -- non-Autistic. This is exciting news for what is mostly thought to be an incurrable disease.
But the "mercury = autism" theory has come under HEAVY attack from the conventional medical arena, and the kids that have improved or totally recovered from their autistic symptoms have all but been totally ignored. The reason? The source of mercury may be doctor caused. The best theory going in my opinion is that the mercury is coming from multiple places -- 1) From mercury leaching off of mom's amalgams (aka. "silver fillings") in utero, 2) enivromental mercury exposure (coal burning power plants, tainted fish, etc.), and 3) Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative found in childhood vaccinations and flu shots. Thimerosal has come under attack the most because there are so many reports of normally developing kids regressing into autism shortly after receiving inocculations.
But if all kids get vaccinated, why aren't all kids autistic? Again, the theory going is that this is based on each individuals genetic ability (the APOe gene expression) to effectively excrete heavy metals. (Through hair, urine, and feces.)
The "mercury = autism" theory is not fail-safe, 100% proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. But intellectual honesty would demand that this theory be given more credence, especially because there are kids who have actually recovered by REMOVING MERCURY. To date, chelation has been the most effective biomedical treatment for autism.
Pat and I (Patrick Jr.) have written about mercury and it's likely connection autism and the spectrum of chronic conditions on our blog for the past year. Autism - If not mercury, then what? is a good place to start for a quick overview.
But the very first thing I ever read about this (back when I used to think all autism is like Rainman ) was Dr. Rashid Buttar's testimony to US Congress in May of 2004 where he talked about the chelation therapy that he developed to reverse the autistic symptoms of his own son. Jaw-dropping stuff.