Dodge County siblings score big on the football field

Gracelyn and Nolan Rogers cheer each other on through every obstacle.

EASTMAN, Ga. — When Nolan and Gracelyn Rogers hit the soccer field, they like to show off what they can do instead of dwelling on what they can’t.

“I was missing my fibula and had to amputate it,” Gracelyn said. “A lot of people ask me about my leg and what happened and I tell them it’s okay. I don’t care if they ask about it.”

Meanwhile, his brother Nolan was born without part of his right arm.

“They think something happened, but I tell them I was just born like this,” he said.

They’re not biological siblings, but when Machell and Albert Rogers adopted them from China, they knew both children would face obstacles.

“We knew they could overcome them,” Machell said.

They certainly have. Gracelyn learned to dribble the ball and shoot with her prosthesis, while Nolan mastered a one-handed throw-in.

“I don’t treat it as a disability,” Gracelyn said. “I treat it as an ability to be able to learn to do it differently.”

“Sometimes it’s going to be hard, but in the end it’s really going to help you,” Nolan said.

Gracelyn now plays for Dodge County Middle, while Nolan dresses for high school. Their determination inspires their teammates and even their coaches.

“If they work so hard and they have – not an excuse – but they have something that maybe other people would see as a drag, then you shouldn’t have an excuse,” said coach Haleigh Pavesich.

Instead of making excuses, the two siblings encourage each other and spend countless times training together.

“I tell her she can do it and she tells me we can do it, and we both get away with it,” Nolan said.

The Rogers have nine children; seven of them adopted. Machell and Albert say they adopted another disabled child who can also learn from Gracelyn and Nolan.

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