No arms, no problem: Middle schooler born without arms tackles football

A middle schooler born without arms doesn't let that keep him from playing his favorite game.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 5:13 PM CDT
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CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - A middle schooler in Iowa who has a disability doesn’t let it get in the way of his dreams.

Seventh grader Thaddeus Longmire was born without arms, but that doesn’t stop him from playing the game he loves: football.

“Football is very fun and being a tight end blocking and feeling like a part of the team,” Thaddeus told KCRG. “No one really said I couldn’t do it, they just gave me, like, looks. That made me feel like I should do it to prove them wrong.”

Thaddeus said it’s not easy playing football without arms.

“I feel like it’s dangerous depending on the size of the guy I am blocking,” he said

When Thad gets knocked down, he gets right back up and works hard to get his body in front of defenders to make a block. Even though he knows he will never score a touchdown, he takes pride in his blocking.

“Kind of hard to score a touchdown because I can’t hold the ball,” Thaddeus said. “I can’t really score a touchdown but maybe like blocking to get a touchdown.”

He takes a lot of pride in seeing his teammates have that success. His coach, Zach Smith, said he is selfless.

“He doesn’t care if he scores a touchdown, he wants the team to get the touchdown,” Smith said.

So why does Thaddeus play tight end? Because that is the position his favorite player, George Kittle, plays.

Thaddeus also inspires many of his teammates.

“He inspires me to go 100% even though I know he can’t do as many things as I can do,” Nirvan Kandel said.

After the games, the teammates and coaches help Thaddeus take his gear off.

“It would be very hard for me to do that, and I’m so glad that he’s choosing football. And then I can be his teammate alongside him,” another teammate said.

Thaddeus gets his own inspiration from his amazing family. His sister, Hannah, is known as the “Blade Runner.” She is one of the top runners in the country, according to KCRG.

Thaddeus’ mother Lee said she believes her children can do whatever they put their minds to.

“We always tell our kids, ‘Dream big,’” Lee said.