Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/USA Today
Landis Sims is proof that dedication and determination can make dreams come true.
The 6-foot-2 freshman at South Central High School in Indiana is a 15-year-old with limb differences. Sims, who was born without hands and without legs below the knee, continues to inspire young kids and adults by working hard toward his goal of becoming a professional athlete.
“I like when people tell me I can’t do something. So I can prove them wrong,” he recently told the Indianapolis Star. “It gives me more grit to go out and do it. Last year, somebody I hang out with a lot asked me if I was going to be a manager because they didn’t think I’d be able to keep up with the team. I said, ‘No, I’m going to play. I’ll keep up. And I have so far.’ “
Landis, who lives by the motto “just watch me,” started playing basketball at age 3 with able-bodied peers and started baseball at four years old. “He’s like every other kid,” his mother Amanda Sims told the outlet, adding: “He just knows he has to work a little bit harder.”
Landis first garnered national attention in March 2016 when the New York Yankees signed the teen, who was 10 at the time, to a one-day contract. He was given a special uniform and access to the clubhouse where he spoke with then-star Alex Rodriguez. He also previously threw out the first pitch at a Yankees game, represented his favorite team in the MLB Draft, and appeared on the MLB Network.
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“Everybody’s taken me in like I’m just the same as them and really if there is any problem, I just show them on the baseball field that there’s no difference. I can do what they can do,” Landis told KUSI in May 2020. “If I didn’t have sports I wouldn’t be the same person. It kinda brings out the joy in me sometimes.”
Landis added, “Mentally, I’m the same as everybody else. It’s my mind that gets me through everything. Physically, there are some things that slow me down but as long as I have it in my mind that I can get through it, I can do anything.”
And last October, during a Zoom chat, MLB Network hosts Eric Byrnes and Kevin Millar presented Landis with a new pair of Ossur running legs on behalf of Challenged Athletes Foundation, Ossur and Rotter Prosthetics.
“The technology changing the last couple of years is absolutely the reason he can compete at this level,” mom Amanda told the Indianapolis Star.
Amanda also spoke about her son’s perseverance and how he’s strengthened his mentality.
“He would get very frustrated when he was little. And that was more him trying to express his emotions. We would have days where we would say, ‘This is just a day to cry. We’re going to cry today. When we’re done, we’re done.’ And those are days we used to have,” she told the outlet recently.
“I think that probably benefited him. I expect bad days. It’s not fair. But we would talk about how people have different things that affect them and yours just happens to be hands and feet. We just do the best with what we’ve got. He’s kind of taken that mentality to face everything that he’s up against,” she said.
Landis, whose goal is to be a sports broadcaster in baseball and aims to earn a broadcasting degree in college, also shared encouraging words to other differently-abled athletes.
“If you’re an amputee you just have to go out and do it. No matter what you might think you can’t do or what people tell you that you can’t do – even if your parents are saying that you can’t do it,” he said. “You at least have to try and get up on your prosthetics, even if you don’t like them. You’ll eventually figure out a way to overcome and be just as good as everybody else.”