In July of 2015, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles stood proudly behind the microphone at the Special Olympics’ opening ceremony.
Charles competed in track and field at the Special Olympics when he was 10 years old. Growing up, he struggled with a learning disability that made school extremely difficult, but having an athletic outlet gave him the confidence he needed to succeed.
“People made fun of me,” he told 60,000 people in Los Angeles. “They said I would never go anywhere…When I competed in the Special Olympics, I found out just how fast I was. I stood high on the podium getting the gold medal in track and field. When I found out how fast I was, I was blessed with a new confidence. The confidence turned into courage. Courage turned into the best I can be every day.”
Now Charles is releasing a children’s book called The Middle School Rules of Jamaal Charles as told by Sean Jensen. The book will officially come out on Feb. 1, and according to Amazon,
The Middle School Rules of Jamaal Charles features the stories and lessons of Jamaal’s childhood, defined by people overlooking him. Young readers will see how Jamaal deals with bullying and endures teasing because of a long undiagnosed learning disability that enabled him to participate in the Special Olympics as a 10-year-old. The gold medals he won at the Special Olympics empowered him, and Jamaal displayed a rare work ethic and determination in everything he did on the field and in the classroom.
“I just kept working, just kept fighting,” Jamaal says. “If you give up, you will not ever know how far you would have gotten.”
— Jamaal Charles (@jcharles25) January 10, 2017
If children with learning disabilities feel they can relate to a superstar like Charles, then this book will have served its purpose. Well done, Charles.