Calder Hodge | Alex Ruiz


What do Calder Hodge, Alex Ruiz, Zack Miller, and Drew Brees have in common?

It’s all about the football brotherhood.

“There’s nothing like the football locker room. The camaraderie, and relationships, and friendships. It really is a brotherhood.” – Drew Brees, NFL Quarterback


14-year-old football player and athlete, Calder Hodge, is a bilateral above knee amputee who received a coaching and training grant from CAF’s 2020 grant distribution. He was born with no tibia bones and his parents made the decision to amputate when he was 2 1/2 years old. Last summer, ESPN presented Calder with an honorary ESPY for his courage and athletic abilities. According to Calder, sports are what help him to be the best he can be. People see him and don’t expect that he has the ability to compete with able bodied athletes and he is determined to prove them wrong. His goal is to be the first double amputee quarterback in the NFL. 

Alex Ruiz, a former varsity quarterback/linebacker at Linfield Christian High School in Temecula, CA tore an artery during a tackle in his 2017 season. Alex was told to choose between keeping his leg and limping for the rest of his life or becoming an amputee and having the opportunity to return to sport with a running prosthetic. In May of 2018, CAF coordinated a surprise with quarterback hero, Drew Brees. In front of a crowd of youth flag football players, Drew presented Alex with his new walking prosthetic, and soon after, his Össur running prosthetic. Alex returned to the field at the end of his high school season and completed his first touchdown pass as an amputee.


With the current COVID-19 crisis limiting person-to-person contact, and in the spirit of mentorship, CAF arranged a first-time meeting between Calder and Alex. But what Calder didn’t know is that Alex planned to have a surprise guest drop in on their mentorship session. Watch the segment below to see what unfolded when the football brotherhood was extended.