The boy was shot at a high school football game in August

By Benjamin VanHoose
October 18, 2019 02:41 PM
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Credit: Nick Agro/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Shaquille O’Neal is making a substantial difference in the lives of one Atlanta family struck by tragedy.

The former NBA All-Star provided a new living space to Allison Woods, whose son, 12-year-old Isaiah Payton, has remained in the hospital since being shot by a stray bullet on August 17.

Payton, paralyzed from the chest down as a result of the shooting, was not permitted for release from the hospital since the family’s current home was not equipped to handle his needs.

That’s when O’Neal, 47, came into the picture, finding the family a new house and pledging to pay rent for the first year to help Woods “get back on her feet.”

“No mother should have to go [through] that,” O’Neal told The A-Scene.

He also added, “I was watching the story and it’s just sad. It could have been any one of us … it could have been my son.”

Isaiah Payton

Woods was living in a one-bedroom apartment with her two sons, according to O’Neal, who found them the new home in a “nice area” of College Park, Georgia.

Payton was shot in the spine after a high school football game. Another boy, 16, was also shot in the incident, but was released from the hospital with minor injuries.

“This was a reckless, heartless and cowardly act of violence that forever changed the life of a 12-year-old child and his family and deeply affected another juvenile,” Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said in a press release at the time.

An unnamed 15-year-old was arrested earlier this week in connection to the shooting, and is charged with aggravated assault, CBS46 reported.

Reps for O’Neal did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

O’Neal, who said he also intends to purchase furniture to outfit the family’s new home, is no stranger to paying it forward. In May, the basketball icon bought new shoes for a Georgia teenager after hearing the boy’s mom couldn’t afford his extra-large footwear.