Not too many kids can say that they have a bionic limb delivered to them by none other than Iron Man himself. But then again, not too many kids are like Alex Pring.
When Alex was seven, he received the first 3D printed robotic arm made by Limbitless Solutions, a UCF-based company. And to top all off, the limb was presented by none other than Robert Downey Jr – who famously plays Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.
Alex was born with most of his right arm missing, but that hasn’t stopped him from living his best life. A sophomore now at South Lake High School in Groveland, Alex plays linebacker for the Eagles’ football team and has gained a reputation for being one of the hardest hitters on the field.
“Alex doesn’t look at himself as handicapped,” South Lake coach Brad Lord told Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. “He looks at himself as someone who wants to start on this team. He makes up for what he’s missing with his brain and his desire. He’s got a can-do attitude every day. Alex doesn’t quit and walk away from anything.”
His perseverance in the face of adversity was the reason he was chosen as the recipient of the Orlando Sentinel’s Buchalter Spirit Award earlier this year. On Friday, August 25, he was awarded a scholarship established by the Buchalter Family and administered by the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
His inspirations include UCF alum Shaquem Griffin, who was born with most of his left arm missing, and Adam Sandler’s character Bobby Boucher from the movie “The Waterboy” – a self described “misfit” who becomes a star football player.
Off the field, Alex thrives in the classroom. He boasts a 4.25 GPA and is already taking college classes with the hopes of one day being an aerospace engineer.
“My parents have never allowed me to feel sorry for myself,” Alex told Bianchi. “I am who I am because of the hard work I put into everything I do, from schoolwork to sports. There is only one me and I have to strive to be the best me that I can be.”
Tony Stark would be proud.