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Dodge County siblings score big on the soccer field and in life despite disabilities

Gracelyn and Nolan Rogers cheer each other on through every obstacle.

EASTMAN, Ga. — When Nolan and Gracelyn Rogers take the soccer field, they love to show off what they can do instead of dwelling on what they can't.

"I was missing my fibula and I had to have it amputated," said Gracelyn. "Lots of people ask me about my leg and what happened and I tell them it's fine. I don't care if they ask about it."

Meanwhile, her brother Nolan was born without part of his right arm.

"They think something happened, but I tell them I was just born this way," he said.

They're not biological siblings, but when Machell and Albert Rogers adopted them from China, they knew both children would face obstacles.

"We knew that they could overcome them," said Machell.

They definitely have. Gracelyn learned to dribble the soccer ball and shoot with her prosthetic, while Nolan mastered a one-handed throw in.

"I don't treat it as a disability," said Gracelyn. "I treat it as an ability to be able to learn how to do it differently."

"Sometimes it's going to be hard, but in the end, it's really going to help you," said Nolan.

Gracelyn now plays for Dodge County Middle, while Nolan suits up for the high school. Their determination inspires their teammates and even coaches.

"If they're working so hard and they have -- not an excuse -- but they have something that maybe other people would see as holding them back, then you should not have an excuse," said coach Haleigh Pavesich.

Instead of making excuses, the two siblings cheer each other on and spend countless time practicing together.

"I tell her she can do it and she tells me we can do it, and we both get through it," said Nolan.

The Rogers have nine kids; seven of them adopted. Machell and Albert say they adopted another child with a disability who can also learn from Gracelyn and Nolan.

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