YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Liberty football team is in playoff contention this week thanks to seven straight wins.
They’ve been inspired by one of their senior leaders, Damon Hodges, who has quite a story. Complications at birth forced a double amputation of his lower legs at just two years old.
Against all odds, Damon is now playing football and making a big impact for the Leopards.
“There’s a lot of kids with heart that I’ve seen but never a kid that has wanted it as bad as he has,” said Chet Allen, Liberty head football coach. “The only thing he wanted to do was play football.”
“I never really thought I would be here but you know now I’m making it reality,” said Hodges, who plays defensive end.
It’s been a long road for Liberty senior Damon Hodges. He’s a walking miracle on two prosthetic legs and playing football has always been the big dream. But he’s certainly had his setbacks.
Grades kept him off the field his first two years of high school, then complication with his prosthetic legs delayed the process even more. But through it all Damon just kept fighting.
“I couldn’t run around the field so you know sometimes I would go in the weight room and lift or I would do workouts and stuff at home,” said Hodges. ‘”So I would be ready when I actually do come back.”
All of Damon’s hard work paid off last Friday, when he got into his first varsity game this season against Newton Falls. He even recorded two tackles in the big win.
“It was a good feeling, it was a great feeling to get on the field,” he said. “You know, have fun.”
“He’s a hard worker man, I have so [many] great things to say about Damon,” said Dra Rushton, Liberty senior quarterback. “He comes out here every day with a positive attitude and just ready to practice.”
“Every player on this team loves him. I mean, there’s not a kid that has a bad word to say about him,” said Allen. “He brings a smile to your face, he always screws around but he’s also more intense than he’s ever been because he knows this is his senior year and it could be the last time he gets to play.”
Damon and the Leopards round out the regular season Friday against rival Girard. A win would secure their first trip to the playoffs in three years. But no matter what happens on the field, Damon’s inspiration continues to live on.
“Anything you set your mind to, you can do,” said Hodges. “It don’t matter what the situation is, don’t matter who you are. If you want to do something, you can do it because anything is possible.”