Scott and Lanette Ferrell raised their boys from birth to be involved in sports. But when Juddy, their youngest, was just over 2-years-old he started limping.
Since the Ferrell boys were always so active, Scott and Lanette didn’t think much about something like this causing life-long complications. But a simple limp eventually caused Juddy to be paralyzed and unable to speak ever again.
Lanette said, “This happens with kids when they get to that age, when they started growth spurts; sometimes there are other physical issues. But it continued to get worse.”
The family’s faith was tested beyond belief October of 1997. For a span of nine months, their family saw every doctor and took every test available to find a diagnosis, but it all came back inconclusive.
In the end, the doctors concluded that a virus had attacked Juddy’s brain, leaving him permanently paralyzed and mute.
“That was the last time we heard him talk,” Scott said.
Scott knew his family was in good hands though, God’s hands.
“We always went to church, Wednesday night for supper and fellowship. And that night, I felt like God was saying, ‘I’ve got him, we can take care of him’.’”
Not able to walk again, Juddy continued to live his same active lifestyle. He interacted and connected with people his own age.
“He just wants to make friends. He just wants to have relationships with the people around him,” Scott said.
Lanette added, “He is the most social kid you’ll ever meet, for someone that can’t talk especially.”
Juddy’s favorite sports teams reside in Abilene, making it easy to be a part of. Juddy always roots for the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys, but his main team is Wylie Bulldogs.
Anyone can find Juddy on the practice field at Wylie high school. Football players line up the track to say “what’s up” to him.
Head Coach Hugh Sandifer said, “We always enjoy having Juddy at practice. He kind of perks everybody up when they see him.”
When Juddy first started hanging around with the team he’d show up to practice in his t-shirt and shorts. But Sandifer and the team made sure to get Juddy his own jersey, number two.
“Then of course, we had to get him a helmet. He always wanted a helmet. He kept wearing me out to get him a helmet,” Sandifer said.
Juddy was now ready.
The team and anyone that meets Juddy is truly inspired by him. Sandifer said, “When he shows up to practice, we know he’s giving 110 percent. We know we better do the same.”
Juddy finished up his senior year graduating in 2015, as class prom king.
Scott said, “Whenever I see people loving on him, building him up, building his self-esteem up, just loving on him – oh yeah – it means the world to me.”
Lanette said after Juddy graduated, he really didn’t have much to do. But Juddy’s next chapter in life started at Team Chip Tae kwon do where he would earn his orange belt.
In Juddy’s experience, it only too him six months to snap a solid wooden board in half.
Tae kwon do trainer Chip Townsend said, “You know there is something about when someone accomplishes something new, especially when that person is as special as Juddy is; there’s something about that moment that you just – I’m sorry it’s just like God moment. It’s like boom, you just did what you were put here for.”
Lanette said, “He’s definitely a fighter. He was not going to listen to the fight that he wasn’t going to survive. He wasn’t going to listen to the fact that he wasn’t going to walk.”
She added, “He chose to do things that would put him in a positive light and that would make people realize that he is somebody special, and that he has the ability to do things that people don’t always recognize that someone with disabilities can do.”