BERLIN, CT (WFSB) - Born without legs he beat the odds.

A man that has achieved more than most people despite his disability spoke with students in Berlin about achieving impossible dreams.

He spoke to 475 students grades K through 5 Friday afternoon and then they lined up for autographs.

David Stevens from Manchester was born in 1966 with the odds against him.

“I was born without legs, put up for adoption, grew up poor and decided that I wasn't going to let my disability put me down,” said Stevens.

He's traveled to dozens of schools throughout the country to share his story.

On Friday, students at Willard Elementary School in Berlin were captivated during his speech.

“I thought that it's an incredible opportunity for us to meet someone so inspiring,” said Grace Bucholz, a 5th grade student.

In high school, Stevens became a star football player in Arizona.

He got a scholarship to college and continued playing football in Minnesota, where he was also a champion wrestler.

“I’ve never felt disabled and I want you guys to understand that you can do anything in life if you put your mind to it,” Stevens told the students.

After school, Stevens tried out for the Cowboys, but didn't make the cut.

In 1996, he focused on baseball and the minor league Saint Paul Saints made him the first legless athlete to play professional sports.

Stevens has also built a distinguished career in television with over 30 years’ experience, including 22 at ESPN where he won 7 national sports Emmys.

“It’s crazy because he did all of that which most people can't even do with legs,” said Matteo Modifica.

Stevens stands 3 ft. 2 inches tall and moves on his hands.

“He encompasses everything that we hope to instill in our students here at Willard school,” said Megan Sirois, Willard Elementary School Lead Teacher.

Stevens turns 53-years-old on Saturday, he's the father of three boys, lives in Manchester, helps young people with disabilities in sports, and is a reporter for the Disability Channel.

He's spent the majority of his life looking up at people, but once they hear his story they are looking up to him.

“No matter what you are given you can do anything you want in life and I’m the poster child for that,” Stevens said.

The lessons that Stevens spoke about don't stop at the elementary school.

While he did sign an autographed picture for most of the students, there's also a back where they can write down their own goals at home.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Digital Content Producer

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