That Kid's Got Game: Teen born with no tibia bones trains to be pro quarterback

Calder Hodge is a teenage double-amputee football player. But he doesn’t want your pity or excuses. The boy from Texas is determined to make NFL history and he wants to be treated like the athletes he competes with. 

Calder was born without tibia bones in both of his legs. He wears prosthetic blades to play football. Since a young age, his three older brothers helped remove “I can’t” form their youngest sibling’s vocabulary. His determination hasn’t wavered since.

“No matter what he faces, he never quits,” said Calder’s mom, Kayla Hodge. “He will work harder than every other kid because he desires it that badly.” 

Calder Hodge is this week’s talent on That Kid’s Got Game

The 13-year-old from Magnolia wants to play in the NFL. That’s tough enough on its own. Factor in having prosthetic legs and Calder is facing a fairly tall order. It’s the type of lofty goal that attracts naysayers. But it’s also a tremendous display of bravery that is sure to offer an array of life lessons—both for Calder and his supporters. 

Calder was born in with fibular hemimelia. Basically, his legs were turned inward and it was as if he walked on the side of his calves, according to Kayla Hodge. His family decided to have surgery before Calder turned three years old.

“I didn’t want him to remember how he was previously. And because of that, he’s just always accepted that this is what it is and he’s done what he needed to do,” said Hodge.

When Calder first got into sports, he had just one set of legs. He used them to both walk and play. But his doctor recognized Calder’s desire to take his physicality to the next level and encouraged his parents to get running blades, which allow him to grow as a competitor. 

And not only is Calder playing against tough odds, he’s doing so with a challenging sport. A sport that’s difficult and dangerous for athletes with two legs. Calder’s mom knows this. She says football wasn’t her first choice, but she can’t imagine intervening. 

“After I see him play, and see his passion and desire, I can’t not support him,” said Hodge. “I’d drive all over the world to give him what he needs to train.”

It’s the off-season right now and Calder is concentrating on working with his quarterback coach. He trains with Hee He’s in the eighth grade at a charter school that focuses on professions within sports.

While he’s determined to go pro, Calder also has interest in the sports media field. But it’s all football moving forward in the Hodge household, with a heavy dose of support on full supply. “Whatever [Calder] needs, I’m going to make sure he has it done so he gets a chance,” said Hodge. 


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