MUST SEE: Local high school player kicks back against the odds
BATON ROUGE - "I remember days I was in a wheel chair. I couldn't walk which was sad, but I can do anything." Dunham senior kicker Evan Light doesn't know what happened that left him without feet, he just knows how he’s going to respond to it.
"There was an accident. It was actually a shark bite and that’s how I lost my legs,” Light says of the obvious absence in his life. But then a wry smile stretches across his face and he chimes in with an unconstrained, “Hey I'm just messing with you, I tell everyone that."
As for what really happened, Light doesn't know for sure. But he believes his feet were injured in a rickshaw accident in India where he was born. He believes both of his feet were amputated above the ankle but has no history to prove it. There’s not much that Light does know for certain about his early days in Calcutta, India. Light’s new life started when his adopted family, the Lights picked him and then left India for Indiana.
Evan had as normal of a life as a young American boy could hope for. And with the help of his new family and some fancy new prosthetics, he started testing himself with sports.
"I started off playing football around first and second grade and then a little bit in middle school,” Light said. “In high school I did tennis and wrestling has been my main sport since like middle school. I've had a lot of fun doing that."
And sports has helped Even fit in off the field as well. The Light family just moved to Baton Rouge this past year, something Evan has looked forward to.
“I just always wanted to live in Baton Rouge which is kind of crazy. I've never heard anybody say that," Light’s fresh sense of humor begins to emerge as he deadpans the line.
Evan found himself trying out to be a part of the Dunham football team and immediately was called upon to help in the kicking game.
“He's a competitor, he likes to win,” said Dunham head coach Neil Weiner. “He likes to compete. You watch him run, from the waist up, he's just like everybody else. You can't tell any difference. You have to look and say which one is the kids with the prosthetic legs so there's nothing that really separates him that way."
So far Light has been a success for his Tiger teammates, making all but one of his kicks this season.
“I'm not worried about pressure or feeling like I have to make anything,” said Light. “I know I have a really good offense. I'm just having fun feeling joy that I get this opportunity."
Light’s ability to live in the moment and not dwell on the past is something you'll notice almost immediately.
“The great thing for me is that I didn't need to relearn to walk. This is the only thing I knew. Can't complain about it too much,” Light said of his lack of feet. “These are the best prosthetics in the world. It changed my life.”
Now Light is helping those not walking in his prosthetic shoes get a feel for what really matters in life.
"I just think he has a really good perspective on things,” Weiner said of having Light on the Tigers’ team. “For our kids to be able to see him have such a humility about his life and still have success no matter what he has going on, it is certainly inspirational for our guys."
For Light, it just comes naturally. "If I inspire anyone for what I do, that's great. Just doing everyday life, they just find that inspiring, so maybe they can do something even more great."
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