A national television audience Saturday watched running back J. K. Dobbins score four touchdowns to help No. 1 Ohio State crush Michigan, but it also learned how Dobbins’ mother nearly aborted him before changing her mind.
The junior rushed 31 times for 211 yards in the Buckeyes’ 56-27 win over their archrival and currently ranks fourth among all major college football players with 1,657 rushing yards, the NCAA notes.
After he scored Ohio State’s final touchdown on a 33-yard run Saturday, FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson relayed a personal story about Dobbins’ mother.
“His mom Mya became pregnant when she was 18 years old,” Johnson said. “She went to the doctor because she was thinking about aborting the baby, but changed her mind. That baby turned out to be that young man, J.K. Dobbins, who she calls her miracle baby.”
Sports broadcast teams often tell personal stories about a player’s life, but the account of Dobbins had Johnson’s name trending on Twitter.
In 2017, the Cleveland Dispatch newspaper told how Dobbins’ mother, Mya Grounds, earned a finance degree to provide for her son. Dobbins learned his work ethic from her, the newspaper said.
“You have to work hard and do things yourself,” Grounds said. “If you don’t do things for yourself, it’ll never get done. That’s something my grandmother taught me.”
She wouldn't let him play football as a child until he followed her rules.
“I said that if you want to pursue this football dream, you have to work at it all the time and it’ll eventually pay off,” Grounds said. “He listens to me. I say stuff and don’t think he’s listening to me, but he is.”
Live Action, the pro-life organization founded by Lila Rose, applauded Johnson – and Dobbins’ mom.
Wow! A @CFBONFOX football announcer just shared that the mother of star @OhioState player, @Jkdobbins22, walked out of an abortion facility & rejected abortion after becoming pregnant at 18.— Live Action (@LiveAction) December 1, 2019
"The baby turned out to be that young man... who she calls her 'miracle baby.'"
“Hopefully,” Live Action said in a blog, “the story of J.K. Dobbins, his mom Mya’s ‘miracle baby,’ simply stated over the course of several seconds today by a FOX announcer on a live broadcast, will save more lives than anyone might have imagined.”
The group also noted that all babies have worth – even ones that don’t grow up to be football stars.
“While not everyone grows up to be a star football player, every child has value, even before he or she is born,” Live Action said. “Every child has limitless potential, and circumstances or assumptions – or even poor prenatal diagnoses — should never determine the value of a human being’s life. Thankfully, Dobbins’ mother realized this before it was too late for both her and her son.”
Ohio State is among the favorites to win the national championship.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Leon Halip/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.