Legless man plays college football, pro baseball, inspires others with message

Hundreds of students in Lee County gathered around to hear Dave Stevens share his experience as an Emmy-award winning broadcaster.

Stevens also played college football and professional baseball and he accomplished all of this without legs.

“I turn my disability into my ability and now I ‘m showcasing it to the world. That’s where I really make my impact is in the schools,” Stevens said.

Dave Stevens was born without legs but not without drive and determination.

“I didn’t think it was a handicap, I didn’t think of it as something that would hold me back,” he said. “Better to try and fail than to sit around daydreaming.”

As a child, Stevens wanted to play sports with other boys his age, so he taught himself how to get in the game.

Stevens’ sports career exploded in high school when he became a three-sport varsity athlete but he didn’t stop there.

“I’m the only legless professional baseball player,” Stevens said,” and I’m the only legless college football player.”

He continued to tackle barriers while playing for Augsburg College and into his minor league baseball contract, shattering expectations. He got a trial with the Dallas Cowboys, then worked at ESPN for 20 years and won 7 Emmys.

But he says this is the most rewarding part of his journey yet.

“Telling my life story just kind of opening adults’ minds and kids’ minds, the schools are where I make the most impact,” he said.

“At Fort Myers we got to go into one of the special ed classes and it was really impactful because the kids really saw a lot of parallels in their stories,” Scott Gregory said, SWFL Blue Chip Business Awards Coordinator.

When facing challenges, Stevens says everyone has a weakness but also a strength within them to overcome it.

“Then they can take a look at go ‘wow if that guy can do it that then what’s my excuse’ everything I’ve done in my life has been a challenge but a challenge I’ve met head on.”

Dave Stevens also volunteers much of his time working with disabled and wounded athletes. He works with D3, or Disability, Dream & Do who offers clinics with Fort Myers Miracle and more.

You can find Dave’s motivational speeches and professional social media pages on his website.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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