With 1 arm each, 2 Centennial football players compete with the best of them

At a glance, the Centennial Coyotes look and act like most other high school football teams, but two of their varsity players each lost an arm as young kids.

Ryan Poindexter lost his right arm in a car accident when he was 5 years old. His mom fell asleep behind the wheel on a family road trip to San Antonio to visit his grandparents. They crashed and the next thing Ryan knew, he was being airlifted to a hospital. At this point his right arm was paralyzed, leaving his family with the decision of leaving his now unusable arm attached, or they could sever it. His family chose the latter. 

"I've just grown up my whole life and it's never really affected me. I never thought to myself, ‘Oh, I only have one arm, I can't do this.' I just go out and do my own thing," Ryan said.

Ryan's story isn't as unique as you might think. That's because he plays defense alongside Michael Libby.

"It's kind of fun when they see I tackled them. It's fun," Michael said about the look on his opponent's face when he takes them down.

Michael also lost the use of his right arm when he was a kid. When he was 6 years old, his nervous system attacked his spinal cord and it took his right arm out, leaving it partially paralyzed (and unusable when it comes to football).

"You just keep going because there is nothing you can do about it," he said.

Other guys on the team don't notice it anymore according to teammate Deyton Jackson. "After the equipment's on, they're just regular football players."

Tanner Steele echoed those words. "We're a big family. We come out here and it's not really that big of a difference. They're just normal out here. You don't really even notice it."

Ryan and Michael don't always get on the field at the same time, but they take advantage of the opportunity when they do.

"We made a tackle together, so I thought that was really cool," said Michael. "It's fun to play with him because it's hard for people to guard him, and it's hard for people to guard me."

Their efforts now serve as an inspiration to both their teammates and their head coach, Richard Taylor. 

"The only time they get upset is if people feel sorry for them or try to treat them in a different way," Taylor said. "Their teammates treat them like they have two arms and treat them just like everyone else on the team."

"When I feel like I can't do anything and I'm doing everything wrong, I just look at them and I know that they're doing their best. They're out here playing hard."

Playing hard isn't just something Michael and Ryan just do on the field. Ryan is big into Madden and his teammates say that he beats them every time… with one arm.

Their attitudes and efforts are something their coach says will serve them long after their playing days are over.

"They've had to learn to adjust, but they have the ability to do that and they'll both be successful in life," he said.

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