Toronto

Not only is she the only girl on her football team, she's also missing a bone in her arm

At 13, Katie Pegg hasn't only overcome the challenge of being the only girl in the Scarborough Thunder Football Association — she was also born without a radial bone in her right forearm.

Katie Pegg, 13, says she wants to play for the Argos one day

Katie Pegg says her cousin who plays football in the US inspired her to give it a try. Now she says she's hooked on the sport. (Paul Borkwood / CBC News)
Katie Pegg hasn't even started high school yet, but her future goal is pretty clear — she wants to become the first female player on the Toronto Argonauts and maybe even play in the NFL some day.

At 13, Katie hasn't only overcome the challenge of being the only girl in the Scarborough Thunder Football Association — she was also born without a radial bone in her right forearm.

She says prior to football, she wasn't using that arm much.

"When I started playing football I started using it more and I started feeling pain in my right arm," she said.

"At the same time, I've been able to make my right arm stronger and use it a lot more than I used to."

The teen first picked up a football in the sixth grade, and now spends four days a week on the field playing defensive tackle.

"Once I watched it a lot more, it was like, 'Yes, this is the sport for me,'" Katie said, admitting tackling is one of the aspects of the sport she enjoys most. 

"I've always been that person who plays really rough with people, I love how it's full contact."

Katie Pegg hopes to play for the Toronto Argonauts one day. Here she is pictured with Argos defensive back Jermaine Gabriel. (Submitted)

The love of contact makes her mother, Amanda Pegg, a little nervous.

"It makes me feel scared because right now it's with Grade 7 and 8 boys and some of those boys are really big," she said. However, she admires the passion her daughter has for the sport, and how she's overcome many challenges.

"I feel like being born as an amputee, she doesn't let that push her down," Pegg said.

"I think she really works hard to be successful in everything."

Katie Pegg, bottom right, says she doesn't notice that she's the only female player anymore. (Submitted)

The organization Katie plays has over 300 players, but it doesn't bother her that she's the only girl.

"I don't really feel out of place that much because when I'm on the field it's a whole other scenario."

'She likes to hit'

Katie practises three nights a week and plays games on the weekend. She doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon.

Her coach, Kelly Shoniker, says she's is continuously growing as a player.

"She's got good technique, she works very hard. She likes to hit."

Coach Kelly Shoniker says Katie has gotten stronger over the last two years and says she hits just as hard, if not harder, than many of the boys. (Paul Borkwood / CBC News)

Shoniker admits he was surprised when he initially saw her on the field, but she quickly proved herself.

"I wasn't too sure how things would progress, she certainly opened my eyes shortly thereafter," he said.

"She's been a force."

Katie has told her coach and her family that she hopes to turn pro one day, and won't let any obstacles get in her way.

"There are people who will be like, 'Oh, you can't do this because of your arm.' And it's just nice that I don't really care what they say," she said. 

About the Author

Talia Ricci is a CBC reporter based in Toronto. She's from Guelph and has also reported in London and Winnipeg. From the Middle East to West Africa, Talia has travelled around the globe volunteering and photographing. She enjoys covering offbeat human interest stories and exposing social justice issues. When she's not reporting, you can find Talia creating recipes for her plant based food blog.