One-Legged Cheerleader Makes Exclusive University of Arkansas Team
The gravity-defying tosses, spins and flips of college cheerleading are hard enough to do on two legs. Now imagine trying to do them on one.
That's Patience Beard's reality, as the 18-year-old lost her left leg to an illness when she was a baby. But she's never let her lack of a limb hold her back, and this year she was one of only five freshmen to make the University of Arkansas cheerleading squad.
Her coach, Jean Naill, says sympathy for her condition had nothing to do with her selection.
"We expect the same from her that we expect of everyone else. No more, no less," Naill explained.
And Beard, who says her parents taught her to never makes excuses, wouldn't want it any other way.
“Everyone goes through obstacles, the people who feel good about themselves are the ones who go for their dreams,” she explained.
In fact, Beard says the most difficult part about being a one-legged cheerleader is choosing how to decorate her prosthetic leg.
Lately she has been going with a zebra stripe pattern. Which means the athlete who has overcome so much to seamlessly fit in will still stand out come game day.