No Arm? No Problem!

Alex Pomeroy and Connor Ball

Staff Writers

Freshman Alex Becker is just a normal kid attending Jamesville-DeWitt High School, with one exception.

“I was born without a left arm,” said Alex Becker.

Sister and junior Maddie Becker said when he was younger he had to wear a cast due to a surgery, but since then has had no medical issues with it. “It’s basically like just having a normal sibling, there’s nothing really different except for the fact that he’s my brother,” says Maddie Becker.

Becker has learned over the years how to complete his daily routine with just one arm. “It really doesn’t hold me back that often and everytime it does I get over it,” said Becker. Examples of compensations that Becker makes are when he uses a keyboard, he types with one hand or when carrying objects he puts his left arm under for support.

For as far as sports go, Becker has adapted well and decides to stay away from sports that require two arms. For gym, Becker wears a prosthetic and comes up with innovative solutions on how to effectively exercise. “He always finds ways to modify so he can participate in everything we're doing,” says Becker’s phys. ed. teacher Cara Goldberg.

Becker also spends most of his afternoons in the fitness center lifting weights with Goldberg. “We have him working on both sides (of his body) cause we don’t want to keep on strengthening his one side, we want to make sure the muscles he does have on his bad arm are still being strengthened,” said Ms. Goldberg.

The arm doesn’t hold him back in participating in extra-curricular activities. Becker competes on J-DHS’ cross-country, swimming and track teams. For swimming, Becker uses a circular prosthetic to help propel himself in the pool. “It’s really awesome to see how he’s doing,” said freshman swimming teammate Logan Roadarmel. “He has improved a lot since his first year last year,” said Roadarmel. As well as swimming, Becker had a fair share of reps at diving. Freshman diver Lucas Dekaney, who is also on the team, says Becker’s effort is remarkable for his ability to overcome his challenges.

Along with the the prosthetic he uses for swimming, Becker uses replaceable hands for many reasons. One is used to hold a bike handle and another is for his drums. Last year as an eigth grader at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, Keith Bryant’s technology class produced their own adjustable hand for Becker. Although Becker’s class did not participate in the production, his sister first came up with the idea. “It’s a very nice gesture, and it looks cool,” said Becker. Despite his gratitude, he doesn't use it often because it can only pick things up. 

Despite the fact you can see the absence of his left arm, he doesn’t get bullied very much. When Becker attended Holy Cross he was a victim of bullying. Becker remembers one kid even said “you're stupid because of your left hand.” Although, bullying isn’t a laughing matter, Becker thought that comment was hysterical because it didn’t make sense.

With the prosthetics, Becker attempts to draw attention away from his arm by encouraging people to joke about it. “Iit makes it a little less awkward in my opinion,” said Becker.