Jenny Blackburn is Willie's girlfriend and fellow athlete. After the accident Jenny is the one who saves him then nurses him while he recovers health. Jenny loves Willie so much that she promises to always stay by him regardless of the debilitating accident. However, Willie's bitterness about life and unkindness toward Jenny drive her away. She tells Willie: "I’d have stayed with you, Willie, if you’d have made any attempt to be decent. But no! Not Willie Weaver! If he can’t be a hero, then to hell with everyone else."
Lisa is the physical education teacher at the high school Willie attends in California after he runs away from his shattered life in Montana. She takes charge of Willie and helps to take control of his body once again through building his strength up. Without knowing Jenny, Lisa tells Willie a variation of what Jenny told him. Lisa says: "You crippled yourself because you stretched the rules till they broke. Simple as that."
Lacey Casteel finds Willie in Oakland, California, rescues him and gives him a home. Lacey isn't the best of men. He drinks. He isn't permitted to see his son or get near his ex-wife because of past horrible behavior. Nonetheless, despite his uncontrollable vices, Lacey has a conscience that is burning him with guilt over what he has done. He hopes that taking Willie in will help make up for some of the wrong he has done and save his soul. He says: "I get this idea to get me out of Hell. Raise me a white cripple kid. Can’t fix all the bad shit, but maybe I make up some." It's call recompense, and he has a shot at making good out of bad.