CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Studies show kids who play sports do better in school and at home, and football has certainly helped one West Oso High School student.
It's all thanks to the relationship between player and coach.
“His personality was one in a million and he's a great kid to be around,” said West Oso Head Coach Brad Smithy.
That wasn't always the case for Jonathan Lucio. His father has been in and out of jail, and his mother worked two jobs, so she wasn't around much. But when Johnathan was only 11 years old, unthinkable tragedy shattered his family.
“We were coming back from San Antonio,” said Lucio. “She lost control of the car, we flipped; she flew out into oncoming traffic and a car hit her.”
Denise Lazo died in the crash. Jonathan, his brother Robert, and sister Julissa were all thrown from the car and were seriously injured. Once they recovered, they all moved in with their grandmother, Maria Lazo.
“He had a lot of rage over what happened, he was angry at the world and lashed out at his teachers,” said Lazo.
Smithy took over the West Oso Football program last summer. As he was reviewing names of kids who signed up, Lucio’s came up. His assistants told him about Jonathan’s behavior problems and felt he wouldn’t be a good fit.
“That's the type of kid I want around, the ones that this is something that they need,” Smithy said.
So Smithy made it his mission to get to Jonathan, who was admittedly skeptical at first.
“Oh, he's one of these coaches that's gonna be here for me for a little bit, then as soon as he knows how Lucio acts when he gets mad, he's not gonna want me on his team,” said Lucio.
Instead, the opposite happened. Smithy pushed the right buttons, and Lucio flourished. He stopped fighting and his grades improved.
“He has changed his attitude,” said Lazo. “He doesn't get angry, he's calm, he behaves.”
“He's trying to hold himself to a high standard, he's trying to see the positive and the good in things, how the hard work pays off and where he's been,” added Smithy.
Where he's been, is a long way from were Lucio is now, and from here the sky's the limit.
“We're extremely excited for the future for this kid,” said Smithy.