Whether it’s football, tennis or wrestling, Evan Light has found ways to excel, no matter the circumstances.
Born India, Light was in an accident as a baby and suffered injuries to his legs, which became infected. Doctors had to remove both of his legs, and Light was left alone in a hospital before being sent to a children’s home.
Soon after, he was adopted by Randy and Jennifer Light.
Evan and his family moved to Baton Rouge in August, but he found his love for athletics in Indiana.
“Wrestling was life in Indiana,” said Light, who idolizes Nick Ackerman, a double amputee who won college wrestling’s highest honor, the Dan Hodge Trophy, in 2001. “I started in first grade and did it year-round. National tournaments and everything.”
Light took up wrestling again as a senior at Dunham High School and competed the whole season — including the state meet, where he finished third in Division III 132-pound division. Light was even an All-District kicker on the football at Dunham.
He has earned the inaugural Advocate Star of Stars Courage Award.
His accomplishments are no surprise to his father, Randy, or himself — but Evan did hear the occasional whispers from other teams and coaches. He would hear opposing wrestling coaches telling their players to take it easy on him or try to treat him like everyone else.
But Light doesn’t view himself as disadvantaged. He has even developed clever stories to tell people when they ask about his legs. He'll tell them it was a shark attack, a chainsaw mishap, whatever. Since he moved to Louisiana, he thought of another tall tale: Alligators got to him.
“I think the big thing for me was, I didn’t have to start over walking,” Light said. “I didn’t know how to walk 'regular,' like most people. So I do things very differently in my walking mechanics. There was no real re-learning of how to walk, and it’s really just the only thing I’ve ever known. I really can’t complain about it or anything — it’s all I know and what I do.”
Now that his athletic career is coming to a close, Light’s next challenge is going to be at LSU. He says he plans on going to school to be a game warden or a wildlife and fisheries agent.
“It takes courage to compete, but it takes a lot more than that to excel,” said his dad, Randy. “That’s just always been what he does.”