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Viborg-Hurley Athlete Overcomes Disability

January 27, 2014, 10:03 PM by Brady Mallory

Viborg-Hurley Athlete Overcomes Disability
BALTIC, SD -

Duana Lee is unstoppable on the hardwood.

"It gives me a rush," Lee said, before a Friday game in Baltic.

The 16-year-old girl is a powerhouse on both the Viborg-Hurley Cougars varsity and junior varsity girls' basketball teams.

"It's pretty easy. Just toss me the ball and I shoot," Lee said.

She easily buries three-pointer shots, steals and assists. You will see her do all of these things on the court, but you also may notice something she lacks. Duana was born without her right hand.

"I never knew any different. I just think I have. Some people forget that I only have one arm," Lee said.

Which is easy to do once you watch her play.  She skillfully handles a basketball and has done so for much of her life. Duana's mom said her daughter constantly practiced when she was younger and still dedicates an enormous amount of hard work to her game. She just has her own technique, a powerful left arm and a determination few adults have. 

"Little Duana, probably the last person you'd ever see complain or ask for anything special. She just goes out there and fights as hard as she can," Gary Bak, a Viborg native who also played basketball for the school, said.

Her teammates have her back and she is quick to point out her parents taught her how to be limitless, rather than limited. 

"They just tell me to keep on going and if people make fun of me or something, they just tell me to ignore them and just hang out with my real friends," Lee said.

Assistant Coach Tanner Waage was in awe the first time he saw her play. He still feels that way, but for different reasons.

"A lot of coaches wish the character she has, every team would (want to) have a team full of Duanas in terms of character.  She's just so upbeat," Waage said.

If you ask her, Duana will tell you she does not consider herself remarkable. She is just a typical teenager, doing what she loves out on the basketball court.

"I never really thought about me, like, touching people, like, and stuff until not that long ago.  If it helps them, and I guess it'd be great.  I don't really think of me being a role model," Lee said.

Yet, Duana Lee is someone to look up to.  Not for what she lacks, but for everything she has.

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