An Arkansas cheerleader is turning heads at Razorbacks games this fall. But for different reasons than the typical ones.
Freshman Patience Beard had her left leg amputated when she was nine months old—the result of Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD), a disease that affects bone growth. But that hasn’t stopped her from cheering on the Hogs and performing the same difficult maneuvers her teammates do.
The Texarkana, AR, native is outfitted with a zebra-patterned prosthetic for each game. And she’s no charity case. Arkansas cheer coach Jean Nail said she offered Beard “no special consideration” after Beard sent in her DVD application.
“She’s the kind of person we want,” Nail told Yahoo! Sports’ Eric Adelson. “She’s a good role model. And she’s absolutely qualified.”
Between Beard and buff Georgia cheerleader Anna Watson, the cheerleaders of the SEC are now joining the football teams in the national headlines.
And Beard’s inspiring story is a measure of consolation amidst the football team’s less-than-stellar start to the 2012 season.