Carl Joseph – An Inspirational Sports and Life Story

Carl Joseph1


I call my blog My World As I See It and I hope after a year people who have seen its content can see that I am an optimist.

I see a lot of good people and things that, unfortunately, go unnoticed or undernoticed in a world of bad news just about everywhere you turn.

I don’t deny the reality of the difficult times we live in.

But there are a lot of good people who do a lot of really important things to make our world better that we never hear much about.

Lately, I have been keeping my eye out for more of these stories.

Some feature names that are easily recognizable and some feature obscure names whose lives deserve much more attention.

Here is the story of Carl Joseph whose exemplary life story deserves much more attention.


Courtesy of


Carl Joseph was born without a left leg. Raised in poverty in a single mom household, he grew up in north Florida on a tobacco farm, the fourth of 10 children. Faced with obstacles most of us can only imagine, Carl didn’t let himself be discouraged. Sports provided a platform for him to excel.

Carl Joseph2

Carl Joseph2

In high school, Carl played basketball, football and track — all done without the aid of his prosthesis. In basketball, he swatted opponents’ shots into the stands and could dunk at just 6′1″ tall. In football, as a captain and starter, he played nose tackle on defense and hopped to make tackles. In one game, he had 11 tackles. He even played college football at Bethune Cookman College. In track, he once high jumped 5′10″ high. Nicknamed “Sugarfoot,” Carl was also an honors student.

Carl traces his inspirational sports story roots back to his mother. He said, “My mama never felt sorry for me, and I never felt sorry for myself. Believe you can do it and Christ does the rest.” Recently (2009), the Florida High School Athletic Association inducted Carl into the Hall of Fame. Carl’s statement included this line, “A one-legged athlete in the Hall of Fame gives hope to disabled people that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and never quit.”

Perhaps former NFL star Dan Dierdorf summarized Carl’s abilities the best when he called him, “the most amazing athlete I’ve ever seen.”


Watch this incredible video about Carls’ feats. Carl Joseph was elected to the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 23, 2009. Carl’s unprecedented exploits have been memorialized in this video, using old game footage that had been lost to Carl for the last 29 years. The video shows why he was a legend in his own time. From sacking quarterbacks to dunking basketballs, he didn’t let the mere absence of a leg stop him from competing as an equal and even excelling in high school sports. His story of faith, courage and heart inspired millions on TV in the early 1980s.



When Carl was inducted into the Florida High School Sports Hall of Fame on February 23 2009, he did receive some of the recognition that his remarkable life story deserves.

Here’s a Miami Herald Blog post covering the story.  Take a look.


Carlsbuddy YouTube Video

A friend of Carl’s, whom I haven’t been able to identify, thought Carl’s sports and life stories needed a more thorough video story. So the carlsbuddy Youtube channel produced the following 6 minute video in January 2010. It is well worth your time!



Recent Update
Elder Carl Joseph

Elder Carl Joseph

After sports, Carl turned to his Christian faith to devote his time and energy as an Ordained Bishop in his church and as a speaker and Gospel singer in a group known as Joseph & the Spiritual Trutones.

Carl is married and has eight daughters and one son as well as 7 grandchildren.

This is a truly wonderful story of a life being well lived.



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Carl Joseph – An Inspirational Sports and Life Story


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