It was the touchdown viewed across TikTok. In his first season on the Briggsdale Falcons football team Carlos Valdez caught a pass in the end zone which elicited universal celebration. He is the only bilateral amputee on the field and as such his determination has inspired everyone around him. Ashley Moore shared the teen’s story for 9 News.
When he was just 9 years old, Carlos was involved in a boating accident which took both of his legs. After five grueling months in the hospital and extensive surgeries, he began on the long road to recovery, having to adjust to a new body and adopt a new mindset. Gradually he returned to activities he had done previously such as skiing and horseback riding.
As a sophomore in high school, Carlos wanted to try football and so far, it has been an incredibly positive experience. “Something I love about my team is they don’t ever make me feel like I’m one of those kids without legs, because I know I don’t have legs,” Carlos said. “But they never make me feel abnormal; I feel like a regular football player which means a lot to me.”
Of course, Carlos’ safety is taken into consideration and the referees call down whenever he catches the ball because ‘you’re down in football as soon as your knee hits.’ “When you have such an underdog and he actually gets to go do what he wants to do, it’s such a hero story,” Falcons Coach Miller shared.
While he does play the game as an adaptive athlete, Carlos realizes the significance of his presence on the field and what it means for others with disabilities. “I want to show people who have never seen anything like it before that it’s possible,” Carlos said. “That kids like me can play. That’s absolutely possible. You’re just going to have to try a little bit harder, but it’s definitely going to be worth it in the end.”