One-handed football player for Bishop Verot hopes to inspire others and win state championship

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A defensive lineman’s two jobs on the football field are shedding blocks and making tackles, but hitting the quarterback is great extra credit. It’s a tough position for anybody but imagine competing at that position with one hand.

Ryan Peterson goes through the linemen drill with his teammates at Bishop Verot. He pushes himself like every other player, and the only difference is Ryan has one hand.

“I never really let it stop me. I just always persevere through anything,” said Ryan.

Ryan Peterson practicing football drills. CREDIT: WINK News

Ryan was born with one hand, so he doesn’t know life or football any other way. He explained to WINK News, he doesn’t even think about it.

“I just think about it as me as a normal person, and I’m the same as everybody else,” said Ryan.

When he arrived at Verot for his freshman year, he joined the football team without ever having played a down of football ever before. Nevertheless, Peterson wasn’t intimidated and relished the opportunity.

“It was always something new. I always enjoyed doing something new, trying new things out, and I kind of pick things up quickly. I mean new sports, whatever it is, I pick it up quickly,” said Ryan.

Ryan did just that. He’s a junior now with the goal of helping his team make history this season by winning a state championship.

“It would definitely mean a lot to me because, obviously, it’s a big thing in history no one has ever done it,” said Ryan, “so just being able to make history, just knowing it’s very hard to get to that point, and very, very, very few people ever get to experience the gratitude of winning, especially at that high of a level.”

Ryan hopes his story can serve as an inspiration to all.

“Never give up for anything. Don’t let people say you can’t do something,” said Ryan, “because even people for me they say, oh, you might not be able to do it. I don’t know if you can do this, blah, blah, blah, and I still just push through it and show, always prove them wrong.”

Bishop Verot starts its regular season on Aug. 24, when they face Port Charlotte.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.