ABILENE, Texas - In Texas, high school football is a way of life. But for a certain star linebacker at Wylie, it's the gift of a lifetime.
For as long as Jaxon Bounds can remember, his family has supported and protected him. Being an athlete has its demands. And the foundation for playing football is being healthy.
"We prayed on him every day. And a lot of times at night," said Jaxon's father, Mike Bounds.
"He enjoys the competition. He enjoys every bit of it, and people who have been though trials in their life don't take it for granted," said Wylie head coach Hugh Sandifer.
Jaxon has always been a fighter, on and off the field. So when life started fighting back, Jaxon's parents decided it was time to tell him. He was diagnosed with Tourettes in the third grade. Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder which casues someone to make repetitive movements or sounds, sometimes without realizing it.
"The hard part really started in third grade, it really started blooming, the Tourettes. So then we went to try to address that, it was hard. it breaks your heart," said Jaxon's mother Danita Bounds.
"He always had an idea that something was going on," said Mr. Bounds.
Surprisingly, his symptoms subsided when he was eleven. But Jaxon didn't find out about his condition until his parents informed him, last year. His parents felt the need to tell him when he wasn't reaching certain goals. But Mike and Danita didn't want his diagnosis to define him.
"That's why he approaches it differently than we approach it, because he has no idea what he's overcome," said Mr. Bounds.
Jaxon still technically has Tourettes, but his symptoms haven't returned. After his parents revealed a part of his story, he felled called to share it.
"Jaxon came home and said 'I think I'm gonna speak,' and we were like, Wow! That's great Jax!" said Danita.
In front of thousands of people, on ironically a football field where he shines naturally, he stepped up to the stage to introduce himself to the packed stands at Shotwell Stadium.
" I thought I was going to be super nervous. But I wasn't, so I guess a lot of people were praying over me," Jaxon said.
He began his speech with, "I knew it was time to tell my true testimony."
"It's incredible, the doors that have been opened for him. He's so humble. I can learn to be a better person from him," said Danita.
Jaxon began to tell his story to his peers.
"When I was little, I was diagnosed with Tourettes. I eventually was sent to Cooks hospital. The doctor ran some tests on me, and he told me as I hit puberty and got older, Tourettes would control my life, and I wouldn't be able to do the things I wanted to do or play sports. God has made me who I am today," Jaxon said during his speech at Fields of Faith.
With a disease that was supposed to hold him down socially and academically, Jaxon did exactly the opposite. He took one of life's messes and transformed it into his own message.