The next time a challenge seems too daunting for you, just consider the trials that Jorge Dyksen has overcome. The 16-year-old has refused to give up on the sport he loves despite having no natural limbs whatsoever.
As chronicled in this fantastic feature from the Bergen Record, Dyksen, a Panamanian native, was born a soccer fan in a rabid soccer nation. Now he's a member of the Manchester Regional High junior varsity soccer team (North Haledon, N.J.), thanks to a lot of love from both his birth and adoptive parents and his own remarkable determination.
Jorge nearly died shortly after his first birthday before four amputations to save him from a severe infection, which doctors and Dyksen's adopted American family believe was probably meningococcal meningitis. At just 16 months old, Dyksen came to the United States as part of a medical program called Healing the Children, which aims to connect everyday American families with children from Latin America who need top level American medical care.
The American families don't pay for the treatments, but they do care for the children who come over as part of the program. One of the families in the program were the Dyksens, Faye and John, who had cared for a pair of girls through the program before Jorge came along. Because of his medical needs and the therapy he required, Jorge stayed with the Dyksens off and on for years.
Eventually his birth family in Panama asked the Dyksens if they were willing to adopt him so he could remain in the U.S. near readily available treatment, and they jumped at the chance.
Now the Dyksens pay for frequent prosthetic upgrades, with those artificial appendages helping pave the way for Jorge to try out for the sport that he was practically born into. Faye Dyksen said that she worries Jorge could be injured while competing -- he's also a member of the Manchester Regional bowling team -- but he has played admirably and fluidly, bringing the skill he developed playing alongside his relatives in Panama to a soccer field in New Jersey.
"I let him tell me whether he's comfortable, whether he’s uncomfortable at any point, because obviously you have to push him at a certain level but you don’t want to overdo it," Manchester Regional boys soccer coach Daniel Sanchez told the Record. "He's reacted great. You can see it on the field."
The teen's return to the field has inspired him to consider becoming a professional motivational speaker when he eventually concludes his education.
"It was nice to be back on the field again," Jorge Dyksen told the Record. I know there’s people out there that really need motivation and everyone says I always motivate other people. I help them get happy in their lives. I'm always smiling and I just feel like that's the right thing for me."
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- Sports & Recreation