charlie Boy With Special Needs Wins Big On And Off The Court

Charlie Johnson (Family Photo)

(CBSDFW.COM) – After years of sitting on the bleachers, a 12-year-old basketball super fan is winning big on and off the court.

The Johnsons have always been a team — and they have to be. The father is an attorney, and the mother is a magistrate. And their kids are also busy.

“Our Saturdays and Sundays look like a DART bus schedule in terms of getting five kids coordinated,” said father Brett Johnson.

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

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

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, where they are devoted to teaching students with developmental disabilities, Charlie’s gotten off the bleachers and hit the ground running.

His true passion, from the time he was in diapers, has been March Madness. And now, he’s more than just a fan.

“In sports, everyone is equal. You get on the floor and it’s you and your teammates. And that has opened him up and given him the confidence that not only carried him forward in sports — but also into real life,” said Brett Johnson.

Last month, his team at Notre Dame took home gold at the North Texas Special Olympics tournament. Charlie’s team went undefeated.

He doesn’t just play basketball. He also rides horses and is also picking up soccer and karate.