There’s a list of things that are essential to have if you want to be a successful quarterback.
A good, strong arm to throw the ball downfield? Of course, because unless your team is running the ball on every down and every distance, at some point you’re going to have to pass.
Good field vision and decision-making on the fly? Of course, because not for nothing do they call the quarterback the field general, and not for nothing do the best quarterbacks build their reputation on reading the defense and finding an opening to get the ball in the hands of the open receiver.
A pair of functioning legs? Not so fast, my friend.
Calder Hodge, a 13-year-old football player out of Houston, has a great arm and good ability to hit his spots for a kid his age. Calder told KPRC-TV that he dreams of someday playing in the NFL, following in the footsteps of Deshaun Watson for the hometown Houston Texans.
He also has no legs. Calder was born with no tibias — the tibia and the fibula make up the structure of the lower leg, the two bones fitting between the knees and ankles like the bones on a flat chicken wing.
As a result of his birth defect, both of his legs had to be amputated.
This hasn’t stopped him, however. With the help of prosthetics, he gets around in the pocket just fine.
Calder Hodge, a 13-year-old QB with prosthetics legs, doesn’t let anything stop him from playing the game he loves ?
— ESPN (@espn) January 18, 2019
Calder himself has over 2,500 Instagram followers watching him stick his thumb in the eye of anyone who says he can’t go after his dreams, and he treats them to footage from time to time as well.
Calder told Lainie Fritz of KPRC that he’s even transferred schools in hopes of getting playing time on the football team to show college recruiters what he can do.
From last night’s Sports Sunday, @KPRC2Lainie shares the inspiring story of Calder Hodge (@calder_Qb7). Born with no tibia bones, the 13 year old uses prosthetics to play the sport he loves. @footwork_king1 @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/JcIhoo9R0H
— Alex Radow (@alexradow) January 14, 2019
He even got himself a true-blue sports trainer with an impressive pedigree to help him work on his game.
Rischad Whitfield of Blitz Football has, in the course of his career, trained Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Deandre Hopkins and Andre Johnson. He knows what it takes for peak performance in the pros.
And Whitfield now has a 13-year-old who makes up in drive and determination what he literally lacks in natural-born legs for the field.
Calder will face headwinds; someone’s bound to cry, “He’s wearing prosthetics that give him an advantage!” — as if he’s some kind of bionic man rather than a kid overcoming his disability through grit and determination.
But that’s a problem for another day. For now, Calder Hodge just wants to have a chance to show off what he can do.
“There’s still people that want me to sit on the sidelines and think that other people can do it better,” he told KPRC. “But I have to prove them wrong on a day-to-day basis.”
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