If you watch Mt. Juliet Christian Academy freshman Andrew Kittrell play football it can be hard to tell him from the rest of his teammates.
That is, until his leg comes off.
“When it gets to sweating when I’m running the ball if someone tackles me and grabs my leg, I will slip right out of it,” Kittrell said. “I’ve thought about (playing a prank). Sometime this year if someone does it I was just going to sit out there and start screaming and make a big deal out of it.”
It wouldn’t be the first time his leg came off in a game.
“When he was in fifth or sixth grade, we were playing Goodpasture in a scrimmage and they went to tackle him and pulled his leg off,” father Mike Kittrell said. “The kids’ faces were just the funniest thing ever.”
Andrew Kittrell was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, resulting in the loss of his left leg below the knee and a right club foot. It also affected fingers on both hands and resulted in seven surgeries before he was 12.
The numerous surgeries haven’t slowed down the soon-to-be 16-year-old. He plays football, basketball and runs track for the Saints.
Heading into the last game of the season on Friday night, in just his first year of high school, Andrew is leading MJCA in tackles and proving to be a formidable defensive threat.
Like any other leg
Although it’s not permanently attached, Andrew said his prosthetic leg has the same kinds of aches and pains.
“It’s just like anybody else’s leg,” he said. “It has its days where maybe I wake up and I have a sore on it or maybe it’s just aching.”
Sometimes it’s more painful than others.
“Right now his tibia and fibula are fused together so they grow to a point,” Mike Kittrell said. “So when he grows, that point tries to grow out the end of his leg. If he hits it on something it sends him through the roof. It’s very painful.”
Surgery can be done to help alleviate Andrew’s pain.
“Andrew actually needs one more surgery,” his father said. “He’s not weight-bearing on his stump. A lot of people can walk on the ground on their stump if they have the proper surgery done.”
But the surgery is expensive.
“When he stops growing and we get to a point where we can afford the surgery, we will try to go ahead and do it.”
Despite the pain and surgeries, Andrew said he is so used to the prosthetic limb he doesn’t feel like it limits him.
“It’s what I’ve grown up with, and I’ve never known any different, so I don’t even realize it,” he said. “When I go out in public, people look at it, but everybody around here is so used to it, nobody pays any attention to it.”