CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- As the Cosby High School girls basketball team celebrated back-to-back state titles, the team's secret weapon is an MVP who rides the bench every game. When the team collected their championship bling at a school assembly Friday afternoon, the student who was most excited to receive a ring has never even dribbled the ball in a game. That said, Jared Burns is considered an integral part of their hoop family.
"Every day he comes to the team practices and games. It is just awesome," said senior Hannah Armstrong.
Jared, who is the dedicated team manager living with autism, keeps grateful players like Tyra Whitehead hydrated during grueling games.
"He is always positive," Whitehead said. "Jared is loved by everyone in the school. He is like a brother to us. We definitely won the championship for Jared."
The team showed their appreciation by presenting a prized letterman jacket to the stunned 10th grader.
"It is awesome," Jared said.
Teammates say the jacket is a well deserved honor.
"Even if we were down in the game he would be motivating us from the sidelines," said senior Ali Trani.
A beaming Tammy Burns says her son's team responsibilities are already helping him overcome steep obstacles in life.
"To see that people care. He has found a place where he belongs," Burns said. "He loves to be a part of it."
Jared is a two-sport star. He also manages Cosby's football team and will get back to work in July when the team reports.
Some of his teammates on the girls basketball team will run in a 5K fundraiser for Autism called "Jog for Jared."
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