8-year-old defying odds, swinging for greatness

8-year-old defying odds, swinging for greatness

LUMBERTON, MS (WDAM) - Like any baseball player Jojo Barnett dreams of hitting a homerun, but the eight-year-old from Lumberton has a rare disease called spina bifida that doesn't allow him the use of his legs.

Barnett's mother Christy Cole said, "He was born with a hole in his spine, his back was open and his spine was exposed. His back was completely messed up."

That doesn't seem to slow him down, his favorite part about the game is sliding across home plate.

"We hit the ball off the tee and after that we hit a homerun and then we come to the front and slide," said Barnett.

Jojo refuses to be wheelchair bound, so he has a unique way of getting around the bases.

"He picks me up and runs," Barnett said about his coach Jeffery Collins.

"The first time he hit He did a real fast crawl, but he told me he didn't want to do that he wanted to run fast," Collins said. "So he told me he wanted me to tote him and I asked his mother if it was okay and she said yeah so that's what we have done."

"I love him for that, because there aren't too many people that would take time out of their busy schedule and come and lend him a hand," said Cole.

Out on the baseball diamond Jojo and Coach Jeff are the fastest base runners on the team.

"He has heart like I have never seen.  He's an inspiration really. He got out here and got out of his chair by himself and got on the field and started throwing it," Collins said. "He's not going to be quiet that's for sure, he enjoys it and the other kids love him out here."

"He gets out there and participates like a normal child and he has fun doing it," said Cole.