JD Johnson to lead the Pinnacle Pioneers football team

JD Johnson drops back to pass during the 2018 high school football season against Mountain Pointe.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Pinnacle High School quarterback will have his scholarship honored at the University of Michigan after he was forced to step away from football due to a heart condition.

JD Johnson made the announcement he was retiring from football on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

"I want to announce that as of today my football playing career has come to an end," Johnson wrote.

Johnson said he was born with a birth defect called coarctation of the aorta.

The condition, a narrowing of the aorta, causes your heart to pump harder to force blood through.

Johnson said he knew following his senior season he would need surgery to expand a stent put in when he was diagnosed at 12 years old. However, his focus remained on winning Pinnacle's first 6A state championship.

Unfortunately, after going through tests and evaluations, doctors discovered he had other issues that cannot be corrected with additional surgery and he couldn't continue playing football.

"I was told that I did not meet the clearance standard to continue playing a contact sport for fear that my aorta could rupture, or that not enough blood would get to my brain causing an on field stroke," he wrote.

Johnson, who had made an unofficial visit to the University of Michigan in mid-December of last year, was worried how this would impact his future after committing to the Wolverines.

Thankfully, Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh put his mind at ease with a phone call after hearing of the test results.

Harbaugh said he would honor the scholarship and even offered Johnson a position to join the Wolverines staff to help in anyway he can.

"I am witness to Coach Harbaugh's character and integrity in a situation where he has every reason to tell me 'Good luck with your future,'" Johnson wrote. "He means what he says, and stands behind his commitments, when he could have taken the easy way out."

Johnson was ranked 114 in the nation at QB and fourth in all of Arizona, according to MaxPreps. 

"I have been so blessed to play with amazing & talented teammates, and thankful that I have been coached by outstanding character-centered coaches over the past 12 years," he wrote.


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