Everyday Hero: Coach Helps Special Needs Student Tackle Adversity

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GARNER, N.C. – Seventh-grader, Josh Carranza, was often told ‘no’. That is, until the Coach Wilton Bunn at North Garner Middle School convinced his mom to let him join the football team.

Spectrum News Reporter Madison Cavalchire shows us how this ‘Everyday Hero’ is helping this student with special needs tackle adversity.

Football season is coming to a close, but for the North Garner Middle School Trojans, there’s plenty to clap about.

In this crowd of Conference Champions, there are also personal success stories worth celebrating. Josh Carranza, who plays Center, has Autism.

“I thought, I’m not going to get this right and I’m going to make mistakes,” Carranza said. “But obviously, everybody makes mistakes when they first play football.”

For this seventh grader, the road to victory was a long one. His mom, Jensy Diaz, never thought she’d see this day. Her son, who was once non-verbal, the proud member of a winning team.

“He kept asking, ‘Mom, can I go get my physical?’ Diaz said. “I didn’t how he would take it because of the padding. He has sensory problems, but when he did the conditioning camp, he did really well. He was socializing with the other kids.”

Jensey says Josh joining the team was all thanks to an ‘Everyday Hero’: The head coach that convinced her to let Josh play.

“It was kind of awkward for him at first, but as the season progressed, he got better and better, and was able to do more than one thing at a time,” said Coach Wilton Bunn.

Josh’s growth has stretched far beyond his game.

“After he started doing better on the field, things started getting better with him in the locker room and with some of the other players,” Bunn said.

His grades improved and his friendships flourished.

“This is coming from a child who used to talk about suicide because he was bullied at school, so to have my son going from being bullied to now having friends, that’s a big ‘ah ha’ moment for me,” Diaz said. “I went from a child who used to cry himself to sleep, to having friends, texting, and socializing.”

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