Disability Doesn't Stop JBMS Student

Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
Dakota Todd, the son of Lyle and Shannon Schoolfield, was born without a right hand and a right pectoral muscle caused by a birth defect called, “Poland Syndrome.” Also, his right shoulder is higher than his left. Poland Syndrome, named after the British Surgeon Alfred Poland, is a rare birth defect characterized by underdevelopment or absence of the chest muscle on one side of the body and usually also webbing of the fingers of the hand on the same side.
Dakota, now 12 and a sixth grader at JBMS, was born in Kansas city and has been in Warsaw since the fourth grade. 
Recently, he decided he wanted to play football but the doctors didn’t think his body could absorb the punishment. He saw a video of a disabled person lifting weights and decided he wanted to give power lifting a try some five months ago.
 His mother Shannon commented, “Meeting Brian Phillips, (the owner, operator and trainer) at Warsaw Fitness is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to Dakota.”
Phillips, who trains Todd three times a week, commented, “He doesn’t let his disability  become a disability. He has a lot of heart and passion and works as hard as anyone in our gym. Dakota is an inspiration to everyone he meets.”
His mother went on to say, “We never say ‘can’t’ around our house. Dakota can do almost anything. He has trouble tying his shoes with one hand which is something most people can’t do.”
According to others, Dakota is smart, gets good grades, and is well liked by his teachers and fellow classmates. He plans on playing basketball this coming school year and wants to play in the NBA.
His mother has talked about getting him a mechanical hand, which is very expensive, but  Dakota is starting to have second thoughts, saying, “I want to be the first one-handed basketball player in the NBA. With a mechanical hand, that might not be considered the same thing.”
Presently, he works out three days a week, but wants to increase that as times goes by. In his first ever weight lifting contest, he came in second at last week’s power lifting event in Warsaw and he plans on entering the upcoming power lifting event in Clinton on October 7th.
As far as hobbies, he likes to fish, play basketball, and play video games. His older brother, Joshua Steinwinder, 26 has been a huge encouragement to Dakota and the two spend as much time together as they possibly can.
Anyone who has ever met this young man realizes that he has a very positive attitude on life and as Brian Phillips said, “He doesn’t allow his disability to become a disability.”