|About Michael Johnson
|August 3, 1988 Romania
|Cheryl Johnson, Ernie Johnson Jr.
Ernie Johnson Jr.’s son, Michael Johnson, has been an inspiring presence to many of the iconic sports personality’s fans. Among his adopted and biological children, Ernie’s son Michael’s medical condition has always been cited in the media. The sportscaster’s family has helped others who also have a loved one like Michael to care for. So, when Ernie said he wouldn’t be commentating for TBS’ The Match, his fans were concerned about Michael’s health and want to know what happened to him.
Michael Johnson Was Adopted from Romania
Michael Johnson was born on August 3, 1988 at a strife-ridden time for Romania. Legendary sportscaster Ernie Johnson Jr.’s wife Cheryl traveled to Romania in 1991 when they heard about the condition of children there.
In his memoir, Ernie said that Cheryl visited an orphanage at a village outside Bucharest that May. On the rare occasion she was able to call her husband back home, she told him about the almost three-year-old boy she saw.
The boy had been abandoned in a park at birth. He couldn’t walk or speak. Cheryl was so moved during their phone conversation that the Johnsons decided to adopt the boy.
Cheryl arrived with the boy, Michael, in Georgia on July 6. He was the first child adopted by the family; soon they would adopt three more.
Michael Battles Muscular Dystrophy
Michael’s first year with the family was spent in and out of doctor’s offices. With a lot of casting and recasting, the child’s deformed left leg was improved quite a bit.
But there were a lot more challenges to overcome, particularly Michael’s digestive system. He had not been given solid food at the orphanage and didn’t know how to chew. Ernie recalled that Michael would let vanilla wafers sit in his mouth until they dissolved enough to swallow.
Michael had to be taught to chew and swallow, a difficult process when the child had little understanding of the English language. But with lot of gesticulating and demonstration, he caught on.
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When Michael was able to eat better, the family focused on his developmental issues. But even with a battery of neurological tests, there was no conclusive answer.
Nonetheless, Michael’s improving condition was a sign of hope. He was slowly learning to walk in a way that he could manage. The family was happy to see him move around.
But when his pediatrician saw his walking gait, he recommended they let a neuromuscular specialist look at Michael. That led to a surgery for a muscle biopsy. Michael Johnson was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder that gradually causes the muscles to deteriorate.
Michael lives with his parents at their Georgia home. He is dependent on a ventilator and regularly visits his doctors.
Ernie Johnson Jr. provided a glimpse of his family and what’s it’s like raising a son with special needs in an ESPN special. He is never shy of showing the love he has for Michael. The family’s affection for the young man encourages others who also have a loved one with special needs.
Ernie Has Taken Special Measures for Michael’s Health During COVID-19
TBS is broadcasting an all-star golf tournament, The Match, between pro-golf legends and NFL titans. However, the network’s famed sportscaster, Ernie Johnson Jr. was not a commentator for the game.
The TBS special began with an at-home broadcast from Johnson, explaining why he won’t be participating in the game. Touching on how the current pandemic has impacted lives everywhere, the sportscaster said that the current crisis is deeply personal to him.
Michael Johnson, who has been battling progressive muscular dystrophy for years, has been dependent on a ventilator to breathe since 2011. He has suffered multiple lung infections over the years, so contracting COVID-19 could be fatal for him.
For the sake of Michael’s health, Ernie and his family are avoiding the possibility of exposing their son to the virus. If Ernie were to commentate at the match among Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, he could risk carrying the virus home to Michael.
While his fans are a little disappointed not to have the sportscasting legend at the game, they are in awe of his commitment to protect his son. Ernie Johnson Jr. has been receiving a flood of praise on the Internet for his decision.
There was slight panic initially that something had happened to the Johnsons’ son. But, as per the latest news, Michael is at home with Ernie and Cheryl and is safe.