Loading
Catholic teen amputee finds strength to overcome challenges
Jake Thompson (R) poses with a Wounded Warrior teammate. Photo courtesy of Thompson family.
Jake Thompson (R) poses with a Wounded Warrior teammate. Photo courtesy of Thompson family.
By Bob Kelly/Catholic Sports Association
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Laura Thompson had been through the emotional rollercoaster before when she was told by doctors that her daughter was going to be born with a cleft palate before being born without one, and now, in her doctor's office, she gets news that her son will face a life of uncertainty due to a rare physical condition.

It was almost two decades ago when she was on her back in the doctor's office getting an ultrasound about a week before Christmas when her doctor told the expectant mother that he saw a fibular malformation called Fibular Hemimelia.  It is the developmental anomaly characterized by the absence or gross shortening of all or part of the limb.

"I guess we all doubt our inner strengths until we are faced with this kind of a situation," Thompson said.  "The doctor walks in with x-rays and said we have problems that we have to talk about, and at this point you are not sure what is going on or what needs to be done.  It is tough when you find out that your baby is not perfect."

Jake Wesley Thompson was born on May 18, 1996, to his parents Curt and Laura Thompson, on a day that would end up testing her Catholic faith and taking it to heights she never knew was possible.

She remembers when she brought home Jake from the hospital knowing that he did not have brain damage and how important it was to her because she would have the opportunity to bond and connect with him.  Yet, she still had a good cry thinking of all the ridicule that he would face in his lifetime.

He was born with only three toes and not enough foot to work with for the doctors when they suggested to have it amputated, which was eventually done when he was eight months old, and got his first prosthetic when he was 15 months old. 

His parents and everyone else eventually found out that Jake had his own plan on how to deal with it.

One of Jake's first memories of having a prosthetic leg was when he was in kindergarten.  He soon knew that he was not like most other kids.

"I remember when the prosthesis fell off when I was in class and everyone started to laugh at me," Thompson said. "I remember being hurt and asked why am I so different."

Thompson remembers another time when he went to Hawaii at nine years old, in the fourth grade, and his prosthesis got wet.  He soon overcame the situation with a realization that would get him through that moment and still is a big part of him today.

"I remember thinking that it does not matter that I only have one leg because I am here with my sister, mom, dad and best friend, and I did not care about my situation or feel sorry for myself because I had them in my life," Thompson said.

The 16-year-old is now a junior at Marana High School in Tucson, Arizona, where he starts at third base and pitches for the school’s baseball team, the Tigers.  He goes snowboarding with his friends in the mountains over Christmas break, never letting any kind of physical impairment become a setback or deterrent to reaching his goals.

He also is a member of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team where he plays with those who have lost limbs in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm.  He received a call in April 2011 to be a batboy for the team, but eventually was invited to play when he found out he was too old to be a batboy.

"I felt honored to be able to play with these guys in this chance of a lifetime," Thompson said.

"These are guys who went into battle and through a lot more than I did.  I realized that if they can re-learn how to do many things for everyday life, then I can too."

Jake's mom said that her son playing on the Wounded Warriors Softball Team has given him the inspiration to overcome his physical challenge.

"He has related how it feels so good to be in the company of others who he can relate to and understand his situation," Laura Thompson said.  "He is so motivated to be a better athlete and became more motivated to be better to others especially after seeing other amputees who were worse off than him."

Besides being involved in athletics, Jake is a member of the worship band at church, where he has played acoustic and electric guitar since he was 13 years old.  He has learned how to read three different types of music from sheet music, chord chart to a tab and along the way learned how to play guitar by receiving lessons from Grammy award-winning artist Gabriel Ayala over the past four years.

Thompson's favorite Bible quote comes from a combination of being alive and his passion of music and playing it for God.  That passage is from Psalm 150:4 which is "praise him with the tambourine and dance: praise him with stringed instrument and pipes."

Posted with permission from the Catholic Sports Association, an organization dedicated to highlighting Catholic sports professionals and enriching junior high and high school student-athletes with Catholic sports articles, conferences, a Web series, and other programs.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
18

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14