Wrestler With Special Needs Lives His Dream - KMSP-TV

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Wrestler With Special Needs Lives His Dream

Posted: Updated:
TROPIC, UT -

Seventeen-year-old Payton Johnson will not let anything get in his way. Despite having Down Syndrome, the teen is competing in wrestling events for his high school.

Payton wrestled in a match that mattered as much as any championship final. It's a feeling many high school wrestlers never get the chance to experience, winning a match at the state tournament.

"He was just glowing," recalled Payton's father Moyle Johnson.

His determination has earned him respect from all his peers. Watching him pin an opponent can be an emotional experience, even for people who don't know the teen.

Even the ref had tears in his eyes as 17-year-old Payton Johnson celebrated his win.

"He has a very special spirit of innocence and love and that touches people's hearts," said Payton's coach, Carlon Johnson.

Payton's parents said it's a great atmosphere for their son to be in.

"It's really awesome," Payton's mother, Tracy, said. "It's really good to see people with disabilities be included, and I'm glad that people are excited about it."

His teammates call him the backbone of the Bryce Valley wrestling team because he makes practice fun.

"He's just like a fun person to wrestle with," Teammate Adam Platt said. "He's probably my favorite person on the whole team to wrestle with."

Walker Smith from Escalante High School has wrestled Payton in the past, and even though he lets him win, he said getting pinned by Payton never feels like a loss.

"Everybody's excited when Payton gets a pin," Smith said. "When he wins, it's always exciting for everybody. Everybody's always happy about it."

"He smiles all the time, he jokes around," said Adam Platt. "He has a habit of tickling you when you're down."

Why pick wresting out of all the sports? "I get girls," Payton said.

Payton's mom said he's the healthiest he's ever been thanks to the sport. But win or lose, for Payton's parents, the best part of watching their son wrestle is seeing him being treated like everyone else.

"You look at his face and watch his eyes and they just glow because there is no difference between him and his teammates," Payton's father, Moyle Johnson, said.

Because Payton is in special education classes, he's able to stay in high school a little longer. His parents aren't sure when he'll graduate, but they're pretty certain he'll be affiliated with wrestling for many years to come.

  • Spotlight StoriesMore>>

  • Father Returning From Deployment Makes His Daughter Easter Wish Come True

    Father Returning From Deployment Makes His Daughter Easter Wish Come True

    Father Returning From Deployment Makes His Daughter Easter Wish Come True

    Saturday, April 19 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-04-19 21:38:59 GMT
    A little girl’s received the best gift from the Easter bunny when her dad came home from Afghanistan Friday morning. The surprise homecoming had been planned for months involving a large Easter Bunny costume and a small homemade heart. When Steve Philipps of Glen Dale left for Afghanistan, his little girl, Avery, gave him something to keep with him. "Avery gave me a heart before I left on deployment that I carried ...
    A little girl’s received the best gift from the Easter bunny when her dad came home from Afghanistan Friday morning. The surprise homecoming had been planned for months involving a large Easter Bunny costume and a small homemade heart. When Steve Philipps of Glen Dale left for Afghanistan, his little girl, Avery, gave him something to keep with him. "Avery gave me a heart before I left on deployment that I carried ...
  • Woman says beau stole her dog, TV on 1st date

    Woman says beau stole her dog, TV on 1st date

    Saturday, April 19 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-04-19 20:33:15 GMT
    No stolen hearts on this first date. Instead, a New Jersey woman says a man she met on a dating website stole her dog and her flat-screen TV. Dover police tell the Daily Record of Parsippany (http://dailyre.co/1f8Kwz4) that the pair went out for the first time Thursday night. After returning home, the woman said she became occupied in another room, leaving the man alone. When she returned, he was gone -- and so were her Yorkshire Terrier named Violet and her TV valued at $3,000. The woman s...
    No stolen hearts on this first date. Instead, a New Jersey woman says a man she met on a dating website stole her dog and her flat-screen TV. Dover police tell the Daily Record of Parsippany (http://dailyre.co/1f8Kwz4) that the pair went out for the first time Thursday night. After returning home, the woman said she became occupied in another room, leaving the man alone. When she returned, he was gone -- and so were her Yorkshire Terrier named Violet and her TV valued at $3,000. The woman s...
  • Deployed Dallas Military Mom Returns Home, Surprises Son At School

    Deployed Dallas Military Mom Returns Home, Surprises Son At School

    Deployed Dallas Military Mom Returns Home, Surprises Son At School

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:49 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:49:02 GMT
    Dallas second grader got quite the surprise at school on Friday when his military mother returned home from Kuwait. The setup happened around 8-year-old Elijah Murray Howard. Howard thought his mom, Private First Class Joann Murray, was in Kuwait, where she's been for the past eight months. But Murray pulled off the real surprise during a fake assembly, where Howard thought another student would be honored. Howard w...
    Dallas second grader got quite the surprise at school on Friday when his military mother returned home from Kuwait. The setup happened around 8-year-old Elijah Murray Howard. Howard thought his mom, Private First Class Joann Murray, was in Kuwait, where she's been for the past eight months. But Murray pulled off the real surprise during a fake assembly, where Howard thought another student would be honored. Howard w...
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices