CHESAPEAKE (WAVY) – The Atlantic Shores football team loves to run up-tempo. Go to one of their practice, and you may find it harder to keep up with the team’s manager.
“I hate being slow. I like to go fast and quick,” said senior Carley Todd.
Todd is all of 4-foot-9, but more than makes up for it with an angelic smile and a ferocious work ethic that she’s displayed to head coach Wayne Lance since he first gave her the job five years ago. “She’s the CEO of the football program,” said Lance.
Always with a word of encouragement, and a water bottle in her hand, Todd is constantly sprinting from one end of the practice field to the other; refilling water bottles, keeping her teammates hydrated, and keeping them in line, so to speak.
“She makes everything run smoother. When she’s not here, it’s panic,” said senior quarterback Ryan Chamberlaine.
What makes her story remarkable, far more than the fact that she once refused to attend a Taylor Swift concert because “the team needs me more than I need to see Taylor Swift,” is the physical challenge she’s had to overcome.
Todd was born in China, and as a special-needs child at six years old, was adopted by Leisa Todd. Carley was also born with a noticeable defect in her right leg, which does not have any muscles or tendons from the knee down.
She had to undergo several painful surgeries as a child, and spent most of her childhood on crutches.
Carley has never let it bother her. “People do stare at it honestly, but let them stare at it, because I’ve proven a lot of things,” she said.
Indeed she has, and her teammates have taken notice.
“I admire everything she does,” said Chamberlaine, “How she comes out every day with a smile on her face, and just the will and the work ethic she has.”
Every year since first taking over as the team manager, Carley has never missed a practice or a game, and has even attended film and workout sessions on weekends and breaks. “She’s here on a Saturday morning at 10:00 am or 9:00 am making sure things are ready,” said Lance.
The dedication she’s shown and the example she’s set goes far beyond how many tackling pads she’s helped set up or how many coolers and water bottles she’s refilled. Lance says she’s left very big shoes to fill.
Carley hopes to attend Tidewater Community College and maybe enter the medical field one day. “[Being the manger] is a great opportunity for me to learn,” she said.
Ironically, her Chinese name means “Fragile Flower.” Her story, her perseverance and her actions have shown her to be anything but.