CNN

Boy with special needs finds hope in basketball

Mar 26, 2018, 1:16 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:00 pm

DALLAS, TX — A special needs boy in Texas who has always loved watching basketball is now getting in the game himself.  Charlie Johnson, 12-years-old, was born with a disability that for years made it nearly impossible for him to participate.  Thanks to his passion, the support of his family, and the help of his teachers, he’s hitting the court and winning.

The Johnson family has always been a team, they have to be.  Both parents have high profile careers – Dad, Brett Johnson is an attorney and mom is a magistrate judge and their kids are busy.

“Our Saturdays and Sundays Look like a dart bus schedule,” said Brett Johnson.

The whole family loves sports, but until recently their 12-year-old Charlie had only been a spectator.

Brett Johnson said, “On any given weekend he would attend 6 games, 7 games but he had to watch the whole time.”

Charlie was born with Cortical Dysplasia, a condition that occurs when the top layer of the brain does not form properly.

“He’s had to struggle with learning to run to play sports and frankly learning to speak,” said Brett Johnson.

At the Notre Dame School, they are devoted to teaching students with developmental disabilities.
Now, Charlie’s gotten off the bleachers and he’s hitting the ground running, participating in track activities.

But his true passion, from the time he was in diapers, is basketball.  In fact, the entire family is obsessed with march Madness.

But now Charlie is more than a fan.  The once shy Charlie, scoring bit on and off the field

“In sports everybody is equal. You get on the floor and its you in your teammates, and that has opened him up and given him confidence,” said Brett Johnson.

Last month his school team took home Gold at the North Texas Special Olympics tournament.

Brett Johnson said, “For a kid we were told on day 3 life he may walk, he may not. He may talk he may not… to see him now has been more than we could ask for.”

His family are his cheerleaders, coaches, and biggest fans.

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Boy with special needs finds hope in basketball