If you haven’t heard of Kris Silbaugh, well, you need to. The Pennsylvania high school football player was born without a left hand, but that hasn’t stopped him from setting school receiving records for yards and touchdowns at Cambridge Springs.
We’ll get to the records in a second, but first things first, how do you catch a football with one hand?
“When I was younger, I just sort of started practicing,” Silbaugh said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “They’d throw it to me and I’d catch it with my hand but sort of get it with my nub, too. It’s kind of hard to explain. I just taught myself to do it. I really don’t think about it.”
Silbaugh was always told he couldn’t play football but decided in ninth grade to just go for it.
“The first time was really nerve-wracking,” Silbaugh said. “I really didn’t know what I was doing out there. I knew I could catch pretty well and run fast, but I had to learn the ropes of what a wide receiver does and all the routes and stuff. It was really nerve-wracking at the time, but now I’m pretty confident in my abilities and it comes pretty easily.”
Silbaugh, who grew up in Erie, didn’t know his teammates until his freshman year. Still, they welcomed him with open arms.
“They were all really surprised, as they probably should have been,” Silbaugh said. “A kid with one hand wanting to be a receiver – that’s not exactly the most logical thing you would think. But they gave me a shot and they were really supportive and they helped me out a lot.”
They’re also happy that Silbaugh has earned so much national attention this season.
“They’re really supportive of it,” he said. “They really believe in my ability. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, so I thank all my teammates for supporting me and helping me through.”
A diehard Panthers fan, Silbaugh, who is also closing in on the school record for receptions, admitted he’s even surprised himself with his success.
“We’re primarily a running team, so I figured I’d just be there for long-down situations when they needed me,” he said. “But they’ve been coming to me and all the other receivers a lot more because they’re confident in my abilities. So when the stats started piling up, I was really surprised.”
Silbaugh, who reportedly runs a 4.4 40, hopes to play college football.
“If the opportunity comes about, I’d love to play in college,” he said. “I’ve been getting letters (of interest) from smaller colleges around here. If anything can come of those, I’d love to play in college.”