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Today's word on journalism

Monday, September 3, 2007

"I've always been all over the lot in my writing. Except for poetry -- even though they say all the old-time sportswriters use plenty of it. Maybe it's just part of what we do."

--Frank DeFord, 2006

Tremonton girl doesn't let prosthetic arm stop her from starring in basketball, soccer

By Jessica Wakley

April 27, 2007 | TREMONTON -- A girl who plays soccer and basketball and participates in the student council has a prosthetic arm but lets "nothing stop her from doing the things she wants to do," said Sharri Oyler, the girl's mother.

Jordan M. Oyler, 18, of 511 N. 100 East, was born with only half an arm. Her mother Sharri Oyler said the birth defect probably happened before she even knew she was pregnant. During development in the womb a fiber in the sack tangled around her arm below the elbow. This fiber cut off the circulation to her arm and it never developed.

"With a disability I have to find new ways to do simple everyday things most people take for granted," said Jordan Oyler.

This has made her a stronger person, said her mother. She is more determined to accomplish what she wants. She has to work harder for things and it makes her more motivated.

"This doesn't hold me back too much. I may use it as an excuse when I don't want to do something but when there is something I really want to do I try my hardest and ask for help," said Oyler.

Oyler has two prosthetic arms, she uses one for everyday activities and another for sports. The arm she wears everyday is more advanced. It is high tech and the hand opens and closes, said Oyler. The arm for sports stays stationary and is softer.

She gets her arms at Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City. She gets a new arm when she grows out of it or when she breaks the fingers.

"I should not have to buy too many more. I am about done growing and not as rough on them as when I was a kid," said Oyler.

The hospital has provided her arms for free but now that she is 18 she will have to pay $5,000 if she needs a new one.

Oyler's mother has enjoyed watching her grow and find her own way to do things. "This has really formed her personality," said her mother.

Sometimes Oyler's disability does stop her from being outgoing. She said she doesn't know how people will react to her. When she was younger it was harder. Kids asked more questions because they were curious about it.

Her friend and teammate Chantel Christensen said she thought she was amazing the first time she met her.

"She never seems to get discouraged and she tries everything," said Christensen.

"Now I realize just because I'm different doesn't mean I cannot be like everyone else," said Oyler.

Her family has helped her the most. She said, they have always encouraged me and never put me down. Her sister Brooke is a big influence on her because she plays sports.

"She has encouraged me through her example," said Oyler.

Her friends have helped her and have been there through her struggles.

"They never treat me different. When I am with them I am just one of the girls," said Oyler.

"She can do as much if not more than any of us," said Christensen.

Christensen sometimes forget she has a prosthetic arm. When they went to prom she asked Christensen to pull her bread apart. Christensen looked at her and asked why she couldn't do it herself. Oyler pointed to her arm and "I felt so dumb."

She started playing basketball as a guard when she was in the seventh grade. No one tried to discourage her from playing. Oyler said she was scared and was not sure if she should play but her family talked her into it. This helped her gain confidence.

In basketball she lettered her senior year and received the Most Inspirational Award.

In soccer she lettered all four years. She received the Rookie of the Year award and as a senior she was awarded MVP and made First Team All State.

Her arm has fallen off two or three times during her soccer games and three times this year in basketball, but never during school. When this happens she laughs about it with her friends.

"The first time it happened I was like, oh my gosh, and I just picked it up. Whenever it happens the other team is shocked," said Oyler.

She plans to go to Utah State University. She wants to gain a degree as a grade school teacher.

"I want to do something that uses my mind more than my body. I think this would be good for me," said Oyler.

She does not plan to continue her sports on a college level but does plan on playing intramurals.


Copyright 1997-2007 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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