On Super Bowl Sunday, proud adoptive mom Leigh Anne Tuohy will watch her son play football for the second time in the biggest American sports game of the year.
Tuohy’s son Michael Oher is the offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers and formerly the Baltimore Ravens, who he helped to achieve victory in the 2013 Super Bowl.
Oher’s life had a troubled beginning. When Oher was born, his mother was addicted to drugs and his father was in prison. He struggled in school, moved through homes in foster care and spent time homeless until he met Leigh Anne and her family as a teen. Adopting a teenage boy was no small decision for the Tuohys, but the family welcomed Oher into their home, invested time into helping him with school and encouraged him to pursue his love of sports.
His life and his adoption story inspired millions after filmmakers portrayed it in the 2009 movie The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock, also an adoptive parent.
Oher’s adoptive mom, Leigh Anne, continues to cheer on her son amid his fame and success. She told Today that she is “really excited” to watch her son play in the 2016 Super Bowl.
“I’m going to put my bling jersey on and be the proudest, most obnoxious momma I can possibly be,” she said. “It has been an amazing journey. Literally not one part of it was anticipated.”
She said their hopes for the film came true: “When people see this movie, they realize there are other Michael Ohers out there who can make something of their lives if someone just turns around and asks how they can help.”
She said Oher also inspired her and her husband, Sean, to “give back as much as we can.” The Tuohys travel around the country speaking about adoption and encouraging families.
“We need people to get involved and make a difference,” Tuohy said. “Money is not going to change it. It’s about people. It’s about us realizing that everyone has value and about being nice to the guy next to you.”
Tuohy said her whole family has been very blessed by Oher and the adoption. She said they all will be on the field Sunday during the big game, cheering Oher on.