Pittsburgh Steelers Fan with Dementia Tears Up Receiving Signed Jersey from Chase Claypool

Claudia Harmata
·3-min read

Joe Sargent/Getty

Steelers' wide receiver, Chase Claypool, spread some kindness to a longtime Pittsburgh fan this week.

Earlier this month, BJ Swoager shared a video of his 76-year-old father, Jimmy Swoager, on TikTok, telling the social media community that his father had recently been diagnosed with dementia.

"He is my best friend in the whole world and is the biggest Pittsburgh Steelers fan in the world. ...We've watched almost every game together since I was a little boy," BJ shared in the video. "He has always been able to tell you every player on the team. Now he can't remember who is on the team every week and it's so sad to see his memory fade."

BJ then called out the team, saying "it would be awesome if the Pittsburgh Steelers would send my daddy some fan gear so he would know who is on the team."

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His video went viral on the popular app, with over 17,000 likes and 95,000 views, and counting. It eventually caught the attention of Claypool, who reached out to BJ offering to help. Not only did he send Jimmy a signed jersey, but he also wished BJ a happy birthday on his 40th.

"Bro, I couldn't believe it," BJ told USA Today Sports. "I couldn't believe he was writing me. And then I had Chase Claypool wish me a happy birthday on my actual birthday. It's incredible. I was blown away just from that. Just unbelievable how kind he is."

Claypool, 22, then dueted BJ's viral video, showing himself signing the jersey and driving to Fedex to ship it out to Jimmy. Once the package arrived, BJ shared the original video with his father and captured the longtime fan opening his surprise.

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"The crazy thing is, we haven't really seen any emotion out of him, probably in the last two months," BJ told USA Today Sports. "He kind of sits in the room. And he was a yeller. We're from Pittsburgh. We're loud. We're obnoxious. We're screaming at refs."

"I hadn't seen my dad cry in maybe five, six months, and we would cry together all the time. When he started reading what Chase wrote, my dad just sat there and started weeping. Overjoyed. To see all those emotions, which we hadn't seen in six months, I got to see my dad again. My mom, she got to see her husband again," BJ added.

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In the heartwarming video shared on Tuesday, Jimmy could be seen reading the sweet note Claypool left on the back of the No. 11 Jersey, choking back some tears.

"Jimmy! Thank you for being a lifelong Steelers fan!!" Claypool addressed the jersey to Jimmy, who looked up at his family and said, "Man, thank you. I love you guys. I'm overwhelmed with you guys."

He then said that while he doesn't remember every game anymore, he always remembers when the Steelers win — and that he planned to wear the jersey to church on Sunday.

BJ said that in the day since the package from Claypool arrived, his father has called him several times asking him to thank Claypool.

"He's like: 'This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me,' " BJ told USA Today Sports. "He told me: 'This is the best memory that I'm going to have.' For him to say that, that means he has a new memory that he may not have had. Given what he's going through, that's everything."