Football team inspired by equipment manager with rare disorder

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Blue Valley Northwest’s football players never have to look far for inspiration. The Huskies have one performer who performs his role like a champion.

His name is A.J. Fuller.

“I’ll tell you, I love these guys,” A.J. said about the football team.

Seventeen-year-old A.J. was born with a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia. His dad, John, says A.J. was born with 90 percent of a key brain component missing.

“When he was born, we were told he’d never walk, talk, crawl, roll over, eat or feed himself,” John said.

But A.J. is now a senior and serving as a student equipment manager for the high school’s football team is his passion.

“You were looking for a way to contribute,” John said, addressing A.J. “You wanted to help the team win, so you wanted to volunteer your help.”

The coach and team appreciate him and his contribution.

“We feel like he’s helping our football team each and every day by coming out here and making sure our boys have water, but more importantly, he’s just a fun kid to be around,” Northwest Coach Mike Zegunis said.

The Huskies in the huddle say A.J. delivers more than just equipment or a drink. They say he inspires them to play the way he would if he could get into the game.

“You see his attitude and his outlook and you want to mirror that,” Huskies quarterback Zack Zegunis said. “That’s how we kind of look up to him.”

Students at Blue Valley Northwest have nominated Fuller as homecoming king.

He’ll know if he’s the winner one week from this Saturday.

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