Ron Scarborough has many special guests on his show.  One recent special guest was a young man named Tyler Stroud.  Tyler is facing some health issues and Ron featured him on his show recently.  The story is a detailed below in a newspaper article by Keith Farner.  It is a story of hope and inspiration.

Chris Stroud, Tyler Stroud and Radio

Chris Stroud (Tyler’s dad), Tyler Stroud, and Radio

Maddox strikes friendship with Shriner’s patient

By Keith Farner
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 

It’s only been a year since Tyler Stroud became an avid Gamecocks fan.

Brian MaddoxBut one reason for the spike in his interest-level with South Carolina football is that he’s become best buds with running back Brian Maddox, a former T.L. Hanna standout who will enroll at South Carolina next week.

Stroud and Maddox first met during the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas festivities in December. Their second meeting, however, was one that brought out the tissues.

In May, Ron Scarborough, host of The Evening Sports Page talk show on 103.1 FM, brought the two together again.

“He started shaking,” said Tyler’s mom, Tisha Stroud, when Tyler first saw Maddox. “That’s as happy as I’ve seen him in a long time.”

At 4 years old, Tyler, now 11, was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as the brittle bone disorder. That’s when he became a patient at the Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville. The Web site said that people with OI could break a rib by sneezing or a leg by rolling over in their sleep. There are as many as 50,000 people in the United States diagnosed with OI, which doesn’t have a cure. Tyler has broken more than 100 bones.

Tyler and MomSince he met Maddox, though, Tisha said Tyler is smiling more and more every day.

The first smile came in December during Shrine Bowl week.

“Mama I met a special guy,” Tisha recalled Tyler saying. “I asked him which one because I thought he was talking about Willy Korn, and he said, ‘Brian Maddox,’ and he’s talked about him ever since.”

This was the first time Tyler met the Shrine Bowlers because the illness prevented him to enjoy the tour the previous six years.

“They were all nice,” Tyler said of the football players. “But Brian stood out. We kind of had the same opinion of Willy Korn going to Clemson.”

Perhaps the biggest smile came about a month ago when Maddox wrote Tyler a letter to check on his new friend. At the end of the note, Maddox informed Tyler of his appearance on an upcoming ESPN reality show.

“If I win 1st place on this show then I’ll get a check for $10,000,” Maddox wrote. “Take a guess where it’s gonna go. Directly to the Shriner’s Hospital. I know you would love that.”

While Maddox caught his dad, Eddie, by surprise when he asked him to drop the letter in a mailbox one morning on the way to work, the running back just wanted to follow through on a commitment.

“I had promised him at the radio show that I was going to write him a letter, so I had to stick by that promise,” Maddox said. “It just came out from my heart to write him one, just to bond with someone who’s not as fortunate as me, to make a friend that way.”

For Tyler, who has received almost a room’s full of Gamecock memorabilia in the last year, it was confirmation that Maddox wasn’t just a football player who gave him five minutes on an obligatory tour.

“I just felt good that he would do that,” said Tyler, who promptly wrote back. “I just told him I was glad if he won he was going to donate that. I told him good luck on his show and I’d be watching his show.”

Tyler also met former Westside standout and current Gamecock receiver Mo Brown on another visit to Scarborough’s show.

“He got down for a while, he breaks so much, he can’t do this, can’t do that,” Tisha said. “When he sees other guys, even though he might not ever be able to play football, he can look at these guys and root for them because they’re doing something that he can’t do.”

Last week Tyler visited a doctor in Charlotte and scheduled a surgery for early August that will install steel rods in his legs to help him stand and possibly walk. The rods will straighten his legs and prevent them from bowing.

“I’m scared of the surgery, but I know God will take care of me,” he said. “Sometimes I have bad days, but God made me this way for a reason.”

Maddox returned last week from 10 days of filming in Jersey City, N.J. for Summer House 2, a reality show featuring six top recruits from the 2007 class. The group lived in a house with former NFL linebacker Chris Speilman, who served as the house dad.

Although Maddox was prohibited by a confidentiality agreement from offering many details, he said they participated in several athletic challenges for points, coached little league teams, and played chess against a “famous person.”

The show will air in eight episodes beginning on July 31 on ESPNU and August 15 on ESPN2.

Maddox said he felt an obligation to give back to the community because of where his football talents have taken him.

“I definitely feel like giving back because of that reason,” Maddox said. “Just meeting Tyler and him being my friend, that’ll push me more toward my goal. Just to know that I have somebody like him watching me on TV or coming to the games, just makes me work hard in the off-season when I get there and just tear it up on the field.”

Maddox said he would continue to write Tyler this fall and would try to get tickets to the games for Tyler and his family. But even if Tyler has to watch the games from home, he’s got a connection already in the stadium.

“I can say, ‘hey, I know that guy,’” he said. “That makes me kind of famous too.”

Keith Farner can be reached at (864) 260-1236 or by e-mail at