Expecting never to run again, Mississippi student now on school’s cross country team

Expected never to run again, Mississippi teen defies odds, joins school’s cross-country team

BRANDON, Miss. (WLBT) - John Parker Pierce was born at thirty-one weeks, weighing three pounds, seven ounces. When he was just three-days-old, he received his first leg cast.

Pierce would go through many more leg casts and braces as a toddler. When he was four, his parents took him back to his orthopedist and they said he needed surgery. After that:

“They told us, you know, to be prepared. That in between ten and twelve that we would probably have to have another surgery,” said John Parker’s mother, Brooke.

“I wasn’t even expecting that I’d ever run again last year. I just thought that would be my life,” admitted John Parker.

John Parker had surgery last November and says with everything he’s faced, he feels like it’s all made him a stronger person.

“I’ve battled through that, so now I get to do what I love,” he said.

“He’s wanting to run around the house, ‘Momma, I’ve got to practice for cross country,’ which, Coach Hopper has been just amazing,” said Brooke.

“When I first saw him run, I thought, ‘Well there’s a problem,’" said Hopper. “His foot strike’s not good, but he just didn’t stop. And he ran one of the best half-mile times of any of the kids his age, and then he just kept going."

"Every meet, he did better than the last meet, and like I said, it’s always with a smile on his face. He never gets tired, he never gets weary. And if you practice him hard, he never complains. He just wants to do more. So, as a coach, it’s inspiring to have a young person like that,” Hopper continued.

John Parker says through his accomplishments, he is able to inspire others who have gone through hard times. From being scared to even get off the bed, to now running 5Ks. He says he’s had a lot of support.

“I have all my friends and coach that are helping me and pushing me on. My mom and dad have helped me through all of this. So that’s why I want to keep on running and do my best in every sport that I do, to show them that I love them," said John Parker.

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