Mover & Shaker of the Month: Johnnie Oddo


By: Paula Green

Four years ago, Johnnie Oddo was a typical eighth grade middle school student. He played soccer, basketball and baseball, everything was fine. Then, his world suddenly took an unexpected and ill-fated turn. “I woke up one day with weakness in my legs and I couldn’t walk like normal,” Johnnie said.

This affliction led Johnnie to seek medical attention. “I had a brain scan, nerve and muscle tests, as well as blood work every few weeks,” Johnnie added. This went on for 14 long, unsuccessful months. Was this a mysterious virus? Doctors could not pinpoint the cause of Johnnie’s ailment. Not only was he dealing with pain in his legs, he had to also endure the heartache of being sidelined from sports.

“Because of my legs, I was unable to play in any games in my freshman year and part of my sophomore year. I couldn’t practice because I couldn’t lift my legs to run which made it hard to play sports,” noted Johnnie.

He finally sought help from Dr. Shawn Richey at Chiropractic Family Health Center in Wexford. “I started doing physical therapy at UPMC Sports Medicine on the South Side three days a week for almost two years. Half of the therapy session was done in the pool. Initially, I was seeing Dr. Shawn three times a week. My hips were not aligned and my right leg was weaker than the left which caused me to walk with a limp. I did this for eight months, and then it went down to two days a week, and once a week, then finally just once a month,” Johnnie commented.

Fast forward to this year – Johnnie is now a senior at Avonworth High School and his mysterious ailment has subsided. He is the captain of his high school team, and a second year starter. He also plays for Century United. Additionally, Johnnie writes for the school newspaper and he is involved with his church youth group. He is being recruited by several Division 2 universities for soccer.

Johnnie resides in Ohio Township with his parents – Lisa and John and his older sister Thanna.

He has this bit of advice for people who are battling mysterious conditions – “I feel self-motivation is the key. Nobody can help more than the person who is experiencing the complications. It can be frustrating trying to explain to doctors and others what’s happening, and nobody else knows exactly like you do. It is important to stay positive and to stay off the Internet. If you try looking up what’s wrong, you’ll probably convince yourself you have something that you really don’t.”

Best wishes to Johnnie in his soccer play and future endeavors.