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."