"This Is the Sports Story of the Year": How One Latter-day Saint Teen Is Inspiring Thousands

Sports radio broadcaster Hans Olsen recently tweeted about high school student, who will don a football jersey for the first and last play of his high school career this Friday night. "In my opinion, this is the sports story of the year," Olsen writes.

But why is this one moment—literally only seconds in the spotlight—for a senior at Green Canyon High in North Logan, Utah, so significant?

"Jonny was born with a rare genetic mutation that left him with muscles in his legs, feet, arms, shoulders, face, and elsewhere paralyzed," Olsen explains. 

"His quiet grit, determination, and inability to back down have inspired thousands. He simply works at it until he figures out a way—Jonny’s way. From what we understand, most children with similar mutations do not live through childhood and spend what few years they have in wheelchairs. 

"Jonny has been told 'no you can’t' since the day he was born. . . . Statements like, 'You won’t walk, run, or ride a bike . . . ever,' were his reality. 'Watch me,' has been his response. Setbacks and surgeries are as common as the bump and bruises that've permanent residence on his knobby knees. His smile and attitude are as infectious and inspiring.

"Every milestone is cause for celebration. This month was huge for him. He made it up the stairs with no hands. His motivation? 'So I can carry milk up the stairs for mom and someday carry my own kids up the stairs.'"

After many surgeries and setbacks, Jonny found himself a year behind in school, but this summer he took an entire year of high school courses online because, as he told Olsen, "I don't want to wait to go on a mission."

According to Olsen, Jonny's picture hangs in the BYU football facility on the hero wall, and the BYU game flag that "storms the field every game bears Jonny's autograph." There's little doubt Jonny has inspired thousands with his determination. As a manager for the Green Canyon football team, Jonny had grown accustomed to watching games from the sideline, but this week he was surprised with a jersey and a chance to start the game as the team's quarterback. 

"Friday night he’ll get one play. One play to remember for a lifetime. Game time forecast calls for 100 percent chance of tears," Olsen says. "In my opinion, this is the sports story of the year."

Jonny's story has been drawing attention on Twitter, and former BYU player Jonny Linehan replied, "Jonny! You’re a legend and I’m honored to share your name! I can only hope to one day have the strength, determination, and attitude that you possess. Enjoy your moment this weekend my bro. You deserve it and much more. Keep doing big things!"

Lead image of Jonny Stott as a little boy with BYU football players, retrieved via Twitter.
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