By Keith Russell

FORNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Forney High School baseball team doesn’t need to pitch itself for folks to take a special interest in their games. They simply need their good luck charm.

Forney High baseball coach Jason Farrow explains, “It says a lot of who is… he lights out a room… and when we walks in everyone notices him.”

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They notice a young man in freshman J.D. Bowdoin who is simply appreciative to be alive.

David Bowdoin, J.D.’s father and Forney High School athletic trainer, says, “He wasn’t supposed to be here… they told us… and there was one day where the doctor said we’re gonna do this surgery and we don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

J.D. came into this world with several birth defects: a severe heart condition, malformed ears which now require hearing aids and limited vision. He spent the first nine and a half months of his life in the hospital and that’s just the beginning.

His father says, “When was born, the back openings of the nose were closed and he had to have that repaired. He had to have a trach for four years and was on a ventilator for about three years. Our pulmonologist said we’ll get him off and that was the only one who said he was gonna make it.”

And just as the family got hope, there were multiple times when J.D. pulled out his own breathing tube and that’s when his mother Amanda, a special education teacher, took control.

She says, “I got really upset and said he needs to stop. I put my finger in his hand and I said these nurses and doctors are fighting for you and for the first time he squeezed my finger.”

The first sign that J.D. was ready to survive and thrive. Another sign came in conjunction with his twin sister Olivia.

J.D.‘s mother says, “They asked to let them see each and we put them in the bed together and the doctor said bring her anytime. His numbers are going up.”

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And as they say, twins know things about one another that others will never.

J.D.’s sister says, “We understand each other. He can’t speak but for himself, but I understand what he’s trying to get across.”

So does every one who comes in his path, whether it’s handing out the line-up card at home plate or being the silent inspiration the team needs.

The coach says, “As they move on and they graduate…. and move on to witness what J.D. has gone through is surely gonna have an impact on them later in life.” \

J.D.’s father say, “A lot of these kids with special needs… they loved everybody… they accept everybody just wanna be accepted and be friends and that’s what’s happened here in Forney.”

J.D.‘s mother says, “We didn’t give up because he didn’t give up.”

J.D. didn’t walk until he was almost 7 years old. Yet, he’s a six-time state champion in Special Olympics.

J.D.’s father says, “He’s a winner… that’s all there is to it.”

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We couldn’t agree more.