After Chy Johnson was bullied by her fellow students at Queen Creek High School because of her rare brain disorder, her mom did her best to stop her daughter’s torment. When the football team’s starting quarterback became involved in the situation, however, Chy’s life took a dramatic turn.
Naturally, every student experiences high school differently. Some thrive in that environment; they may be popular with their peers, for instance, or enjoy the academic rigor of their classes. For other teens, however, high school can be miserable, as they may stick out from the crowd and so become targets for bullies.
And Chy herself was different to many of the students at Queen Creek High School in Arizona. In particular, she had been born with a neurological disorder that had left her with a mental age of approximately eight. Even taking into account Chy’s condition, though, her mom Liz had urged the school to let her daughter get the best education she could.
Indeed, in 2015 Liz told The Arizona Republic, “I always pushed for [Chy] to be included in the regular classes as well as her special-education classes.” And, in fact, according to her mother, Chy had been defying the odds ever since she was small.
For example, after Chy’s birth, doctors had informed Liz that her daughter would sadly pass away before she was any older than two weeks. This, of course, didn’t come to pass. Medical professionals also said to Chy’s mom that, thanks to the little girl’s condition, she would never be able to walk or talk. Again Chy proved them wrong, though.
But even after overcoming these obstacles, life wasn’t always easy for Chy. She was tormented at school, for instance, with her peers shoving her in public or hurling trash in her direction. And, understandably, the abuse left its mark on the young woman.
In 2012 Liz explained the situation to ESPN, saying, “[Chy would] come home every night at the start of the school year crying and upset. That permanent smile she had, that gleam in her eye, that was all gone.” And seeing her child suffering spurred the mom into action.
At first, in order to help stamp out the bullying, Liz tried the traditional route of getting in touch with those at the school. In fact, as well as approaching her daughter’s teachers, she attempted to contact administrators at Queen Creek High. In the end, though, her efforts were fruitless.
Liz realized, then, that she would have to take matters into her own hands. And to that end, she decided to turn to Carson Jones, a senior at Queen Creek High. Carson was familiar with Chy as well; he had once taken his fellow student to the Special Olympics.
In particular, Liz asked Carson, who also happened to be the football team’s starting quarterback, for a favor: she inquired whether he could find out who the bullies were for her. What he did instead was a complete shock, however, and it transformed Chy’s school life.
Rather than searching for Chy’s tormentors, Carson became somewhat of a buddy to the teenage girl. Most notably, he asked her to sit with him and his friends in the cafeteria during lunch periods. Before Carson’s involvement, Chy had eaten in a room designed for kids with special needs – and at a distance from most of the rest of her peers.
But why did Carson befriend Chy instead of passing on the bullies’ names to her mom? Well, there was a reason for that, as the senior would tell ESPN. He said, “I just thought that if [the bullies] saw [Chy] with us every day, maybe they’d start treating her better. Telling on kids would’ve just caused more problems.”
Carson wasn’t the only member of the football team to take care of Chy, though. In time, the quarterbacks’ teammates got involved, too, by accompanying her around school and ensuring that she sat close to players when in classes. These thoughtful acts made a massive difference to Chy’s school life – the bullying ceased, for one.
And the football players’ kind behavior was not going unnoticed. Offensive lineman Bryce Oakes would say to ESPN, for instance, “I was parking my car yesterday, and I saw a couple of the guys talking to her and being nice. I think it’s making a difference around here.”
However, perhaps the biggest difference could be seen in Chy herself; her mom certainly noticed that she seemed happier after school. Furthermore, when Liz quizzed her daughter as to her apparent change of mood, Chy revealed all. The teenager divulged, “I’m eating lunch with my boys!”
And Liz is understandably extremely grateful for the effects that the football team’s actions have had on her daughter. She added to ESPN, “I thank Carson every chance I see him. He’s an amazing young man. He’s going to go far in life.”
But the relationship between Chy and Carson didn’t only go one way; Chy looked after Carson too. After Carson was involved in a car accident, for example, Chy kept offering help by way of carrying his bag for him. “I know his neck hurts,” she told EPSN.
What’s more, although the football players graduated two years before Chy did, they still kept in contact with their high school buddy. One of the boys even chose to send cards to her from where he was based in Africa; these messages came at six-month intervals.
And the young men continued to look out for Chy, even at a distance. On one occasion, Chy had become ill and had failed to respond to any contact from her friends. This state of affairs prompted real concern in some of the former students; as a result, they got in touch with Liz just to check on Chy’s wellbeing.
So, it appears that the decision made by a one-time high school quarterback has totally transformed a young girl’s life. And in the process, Chy and the football players have forged quite a bond. As Chy herself told People in 2012, “They’re my boys and I’m their lucky girl. They’re awesome.”