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Komets' P.J. Musico honors brother with goalie mask

News-Sentinel photo by Blake Sebring<br /> <br /> Fort Wayne Komets goaltender P.J. Musico displays his mask which includes a symbol for autism to honor his brother Patrick.
News-Sentinel photo by Blake Sebring

Fort Wayne Komets goaltender P.J. Musico displays his mask which includes a symbol for autism to honor his brother Patrick.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Painting design includes national autism symbol

Thursday, February 02, 2017 11:58 am
Sometimes the symbols on a goaltender's mask tell a story about the person wearing it. P.J. Musico's mask tells something about his brother. Musico, the recently acquired Komets netminder, has a blue puzzle piece on the right ear of his mask, signifying his brother Patrick who was born autistic. The symbol was created in 1963 because people with autism were believed to suffer from a puzzling condition.

Musico takes the attitude that he's experiencing everything for his brother as well as himself.

Patrick, 25 and a year younger than his brother, doesn't talk but communicates through texts, handwriting and is almost an expert typist. He requires consistent care, but he loves his big brother and they communicate every day though Facetime or texting.

"He'll just sit there and hang out and watch what I do," Musico said. "Back in school (in Orange, Cal.) he would Facetime me and I'd be in study hall so he'd just sit there and watch me study. He really, really likes clothes and he'll send me a picture of what he likes such as board shorts or whatever just because he knows I have a soft spot for him and I'll end up buying them for him."

During the offseason, Musico loves doing things with Patrick like working with a special needs soccer team. During their high school days, P.J. spent a lot of time in Patrick's classroom.

"He loves to go to the beach and swim," Musico said. "He'll be in the water for hours unless you take him out. He's a fish in that sense. He lives to play video games with me.

Does he win?

"No, he doesn't beat me," Musico said with a laugh. "I take my video games a little too seriously sometimes. He's a great kid and we have that relationship which is unspoken."

Patrick also loves to watch P.J. play actual games on the computer, as does most of Musico's family. Musico has a new helmet coming in which has even more of an autism theme which everyone is looking forward to seeing.

But what has he learned from Patrick? More than you might think. Every time Musico gets traded or moved during the season, and as a goaltender that happens frequently, he remembers Patrick and what he means to the family.

"Patience in adversity," Musico said. "Not everything is going to bounce your way. The perspective part is huge and the motivation. Some days you don't want to come to the rink, plain and simple. We have lives outside the rink, and sometimes life is bigger than hockey so it's really nice to have that outlet.

"A lot of the times you just have to realize the situation and find the positive in it. It can be very negative, but at the same time it can be very, very positive."

For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at @blakesebring, at his blog tailingthekomets.com and on Facebook at Blake Sebring.

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