Friday nights during the fall are for high school football under the bright lights of a crowded stadium. For Evan Light, whose legs are amputated below the knee, this night is no different, as he is the kicker for The Dunham School football team.
Evan was injured in an accident in his native country of India when he was eight months old. He was taken to a children’s home in Calcutta, where he was given the name “Ajoy,” which means “unconquerable.” Jenny and Randy Light adopted him when he was two years old. “When we first became aware of Evan, we knew that he had lost his feet, but we knew nothing of the challenges he would face,” Jenny says. “We tried to learn what we could about what we would need to provide for this little child. We prayed.”
Despite his prosthetic legs, Evan became involved in football, tennis, and water sports, and this past summer, he joined Dunham’s football team as the kicker. “Everyone was very welcoming and receptive,” Evan says. “I really appreciated Coach Weiner giving me a chance to earn a spot on the team.”
However, Evan has noticed some misconceptions about sports and prosthetics. Some think he has an advantage due to his prosthetic legs. He knows that those people may not understand his situation, so he always lets his success on the field prove that he is worthy of his spot on the team.
Randy has also witnessed these misconceptions when Evan was wrestling. “I am amazed at the number of people who watch Evan compete at a high level in athletics and assume that being an amputee must give him some sort of advantage,” Randy says. “He wrestles without prosthetics, and his upper body strength is remarkable, but he has no feet to give him leverage. Still, people look for ways to explain his success. He is successful because he works tirelessly to improve his skills in whatever he does.”
With Evan’s position on the team, he has become a role model to many. He inspires people with his can-do attitude and determination. He hopes to be an inspiration to people because of the way he treats everyone with kindness, but he knows many people living with similar obstacles look up to him as well.
Evan has had support from family, friends, and teachers along his journey, and he has always lived his life believing he can do anything.
Randy admires Evan’s sense of determination and kindness. He says Evan shows other kids that they can accomplish their goals, regardless of obstacles, if they never give up. Jenny is also proud of Evan’s willpower and deep inner strength. She says he has a willingness to try and never complains about challenges. In fact, he thrives on them.
Evan has big plans for the future, including competing in the Paralympics and trying rowing. When he graduates, he plans to attend college. While he loves LSU, he is also looking at smaller schools where he could continue kicking for a football team. “Sometimes people have doubted me, but I enjoy proving them wrong,” he says. “I’m very competitive, and I get a lot of joy and satisfaction from always challenging myself and reaching my goals.” ■