Local News

Lack of Leg No Bar to Fayetteville Athlete

Posted September 18, 1998

— The players on the Douglas Byrd junior varsity football team look at James Kettell and see a fearless football player who can take anything or anyone on.

The 16-year-old says he is like anyone else. And his coaches agree.

"James doesn't want any special treatment and he doesn't need it. He can do anything anyone else can. He just looks a little different when he goes out on the field," says coach Terry McNeill.

James looks different because he has only one leg. He lost his left leg to cancer when he was 8. Initially, he felt sorry for himself.

"I saw everyone playing and doing all these other activities and I felt left out. So I just went out there and started playing," he says.

He is now playing tough. He has earned his spot as a starting defensive lineman.

"It's amazing to see what he does," McNeill says.

"Sometimes I think I have two legs. When I am out here playing football sometimes I forget about it," James says.

His teammates and coaches don't want to forget that a young man facing adversity has a reason to stand proud.

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