Born Without Arms or Legs, Seventh Grader Tackles the Odds on the Gridiron - NBC 10 Philadelphia

A little mind candy for the middle of your day

Born Without Arms or Legs, Seventh Grader Tackles the Odds on the Gridiron

Thursday night, one 12-year-old boy with no limbs played his last game of the season for Stetson Middle School in West Chester. NBC10’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports with why so many people call him an inspiration. (Published Friday, Nov. 6, 2015)

"If they discount me, then you will be laying on the ground."

The words of this seventh-grade football player seem common, but they come from a 12-year-old who is playing against heavy odds.

Gaven Toney of Chester County, in Pennsylvania, was born without arms and legs. He's not letting that stop him on the field.

NBC10 attended a game at Henderson High School on Thursday night where Gaven's team from Stetson Middle School took on rival Pierce and Gaven took plenty of hits. Running on special shoes, he kept up just fine and held his ground, making plays to help his team.

The young defensive tackle takes his cues from the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I watched the Eagles and (running backs) DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews," he tells NBC10. "I want to come out and see if I can put in the work and I tried to see what happens."

As for his future, Gaven hopes to become a football player or analyst when he grows up.

Gaven's coach, Mitch Hoffman, said "It's moments like this, and being around kids" like Gaven, that make coaching worth it.

Gaven has tried other sports in the past, but this is his first year on the football team, something that still worries his mom.

"Usually I'm hoping he doesn't get hurt and that he gives his all every time– he tries it no matter what," Jeanelle Toney said.