PATIENCE Beard flips and spins on the sidelines at American football games just like every other cheerleader in her squad.

Except there’s something extraordinary about the 18-year-old blonde – she has a prosthetic leg The University of Arkansas freshman lost her left leg through illness when she was just a baby But Patience refused to let it hold her back and has fought her way into a coveted spot among the college’s elite cheerleading squad She’s so good, she’s one of just five first year students at the University of Arkansas allowed to cheer in the main squad – meaning she gets to perform in front of 70,000 fans at Arkansas Razorbacks home games.

The university’s cheerleading chief Jean Naill insists Patience was picked on merit – not because of her disability.

She said: “We expect the same from her that we expect of everyone else. No more, no less.”

Patience has her parents to thank for her drive – insisting they never let her use her disability as an excuse.

She said: “My parents always pushed me to do the best I can do and never let me give excuses ever.

“Everyone goes through obstacles, the people who feel good about themselves are the ones who go for their dreams.”

As for the complicated moves and routines – she finds them easy.

The hardest part is choosing how to decorated her prosthetic leg – currently adorned in eye-catching zebra-print.

She added: “It’s probably my hardest life decision. The zebra print an expression of my outgoing personality.”

The Sun