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Scout's love for sports, reading may have helped save him

Story Highlights

Dad hopes his son has taken his Scout training to heart
• Boy was familiar with an adventure novel about survival, dad says
• 12-year-old Michael Auberry went missing Saturday near Virginia-N.C. line
• Michael diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, father says
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McGRADY, North Carolina (CNN) -- People who know Michael Auberry describe him as a well-rounded 12-year-old who loves sports, reading and the Boy Scouts, all three of which may have helped him survive in the North Carolina wilderness.

Michael was reported found in a remote mountain area Tuesday, three days after he disappeared from his Boy Scout campsite near the North Carolina-Virginia border.

The "contemplative" sixth-grader, who plays basketball and runs track, has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. But his father, Kent Auberry, said Tuesday that his condition doesn't define his son. (Watch announcement that Michael was found Video)

"There are many things about Michael's personality that may be connected with the ADHD that are really wonderful, that are really positive: his imagination, his creativity," Auberry said.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to MayoClinic.com, is a group of chronic disorders that begin in childhood whose symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

"He's a very contemplative kid. I can see him being interested in something, looking around and not realizing where he is at that particular time, at that moment."

Last weekend's camping trip was not the first for the tenderfoot Scout, who has eight overnight trips under his belt, including one week of Boy Scout camp, his father said. (Map)

"They do a great job in the Scouts about educating the kids about what to be aware of, and tips," Auberry said. "And I'm hopeful that Michael has taken those to heart."

In addition to Michael's Scout training, Auberry said his son's interest in books may have come in handy during the past three nights, when temperatures dipped into the 20s and 30s.

Auberry said he took comfort that his son spent weeks a few years ago reading the novel "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen, a survival adventure story about a boy stranded alone on a Canadian island after a plane crash.

"I think he's got some of that book on his mind," Auberry said. The book is required reading for students in Michael's school district.

Patti Self, who teaches the boy's sixth-grade class at Mendenhall Middle School in Greensboro, North Carolina, said, "Michael is a typical preteen who is interested in video games and loves to read."

Like many children his age, Michael is involved in a church basketball program.

"He enjoys this very much, and it's a noncompetitive type basketball league that he was participating in," said Tina White of the National Park Service. "He loves basketball, according to his father, and had just finished the basketball season."

Michael also loves Scouting, and enjoys "hanging out with the guys" a great deal, White said. The sport Michael enjoys the most is track, White said. "Something that he does enjoy doing quite a bit is running. So he's evidently in very good shape to run, maybe more than some of us sometimes."

He's a well-rounded A-, B-type student who's creative, enthusiastic and likes writing, and enjoys reading, White said.

Despite the A and B grades, Auberry told the Greensboro News & Record that his son would prefer to be described as funny rather than smart.

"He has a great sense of humor," he said, according to the paper, and enjoys film comedies such as "Young Frankenstein" and "The Princess Bride."

Michael also is a fan of the parody musician, Weird Al Yankovic, his father told the News & Record.


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Michael Auberry, 12, disappeared Saturday after separating from his scout troop during a camping trip.

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