Student defies odds to live life without limits

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BUTLER, Ala. (WTOK) -- Iyanna Thompson is 12-years-old. At first sight, she might seem like an ordinary seventh grader, but those who know her say that's far from true.

Instead, this is her first year playing basketball for Choctaw County's seventh grade team in Butler, Alabama.

Here's the catch: Thompson only has one arm.

"She thinks that she can do anything that anybody else can do," said her mother, Sierra Dubose.

She says her daughter's "can-do" attitude is what led her to try out this year for the basketball team.

"I wasn't afraid because if I want to do it, I can try to do it," Thompson said.

"I wasn't concerned about her trying out because she can do anything that she wants to do," Dubose said. "She can braid hair and ride bikes. She even played T-ball when she was younger."

"I was extremely happy to see her in the gym," said Coach Areia James.

For at least 15 years, she has coached basketball.

"I've never met anyone like her, never," said James. "I know that a lot of times, people use the word, 'disability.' I would like to change that to, we all have unique abilities, and Iyanna possesses a very unique ability to perform."

As a starter on the team, Iyanna, who is very soft spoken, is a force on the court. In fact, during last week's game, she scored five points, had a few steals and even nailed a three point shot.

"Some of the family members are amazed at the things that she can do," Dubose said.

"Right now, we're working on how to avoid traps," said Coach James, "And how she can use her body to protect herself when she's dribbling. It's just a blessing, and I'm glad to be able to coach her."

"You never know what you can do until you try," Thompson said..

Coach James says Iyanna is not shown "favoritism," and stresses that she starts for the team because she has earned the position.

Read the original version of this article at wtok.com.