Super Bowl-winning coach with one arm teaches Rigby middle-schoolers 5 principles for success - East Idaho News

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Super Bowl-winning coach with one arm teaches Rigby middle-schoolers 5 principles for success

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During an assembly at Rigby Middle School Monday afternoon, Kansas City Chiefs assistant running backs coach Porter Ellet, who lost his right arm at age 16, showed students how to dribble a basketball with their knees. Take a look in the video above. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

RIGBY – More than a month after the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory, one of the team’s leaders paid a visit to eastern Idaho to speak to local students.

The Chiefs’ assistant running backs coach, Porter Ellett, was at Farnsworth Elementary and Rigby Middle School Monday for DARE graduation.

The 34-year-old man, originally from Utah, is known as the coach with one arm. He injured his right arm in a vehicle accident when he was 4 that permanently damaged the nerves and paralyzed it.

“It’s called a brachial plexus injury. It tears all the nerves out of your spine that control the arm,” Ellett tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We called it a dead arm. It’d just hang there.”

He later broke it in a basketball game at age 16 and had it removed during surgery.

Ellett was interviewed on ‘Good Morning America’ the following year. Jefferson County Deputy and DARE instructor Mike Miller invited him to come and speak to students a short time after that. Ellett’s been a recurring speaker in Rigby ever since.

“Rigby has been special to me since I was in high school,” Ellett told Rigby Middle School students. “It’s always fun to come back and share some experiences.”

Ellett shared five principles during Monday’s assembly that have helped him throughout his life. The first was think outside the box.

As a one-armed athlete, Ellett explained he’s had to learn how to do things differently. Basic tasks like tying shoes are challenging, he said, but he’s figured out how to get it done. He demonstrates it for students in the video above.

“I don’t know what your challenges are … but if you think outside the box and approach it differently, you’re going to have more success than if you just try to attack it the same way over and over again,” Ellett said.

Ellet also talked about being humble, sacrifice, not quitting and being a leader.

Of all the principles in his 43-minute presentation, Ellett feels the third one is the most important.

“In today’s world, you don’t even need an excuse to quit. The predominant thought is quit first, try second,” he says. “I was never the most talented, smartest or most athletic. I just didn’t quit and I found success.”

Ellett stuck around after his presentation to show students his Super Bowl rings, sign autographs and take photos.

Miller appreciates Ellett’s message to the kids and is grateful for his willingness to come and speak.

Miller’s been involved in Jefferson County’s DARE program for the last 32 years. For a long time, its main focus was about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Today, that is just a small part of what students learn.

The student workbook has chapters devoted to peer pressure, risky situations, making safe and responsible choices, effective communication, stress, bullying, mental health and more.

Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson, who provides deputies and funding for the DARE program, says kids today have so much more to deal with than previous generations.

“These kids are being exposed to things that we never were exposed to at that age,” Anderson says. “With technology (referring to smart phones and the increased access to pornography, sexual content, bullying, etc.) drugs, fentanyl — one pill can kill and we’ve had overdoses in our community — the dangers today are so much more potent.”

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Since the Rigby Middle School shooting in May 2021 and a second gun-related incident four months later, Anderson says student safety is the biggest priority and the law enforcement presence in local schools is much more heightened than it used to be.

The things students learn in the DARE program are helpful in improving overall safety and preventing similar incidents from happening in the future, Anderson says.

“DARE teaches students that they have adults in their life, peers and role models they can go to if they have an issue so we don’t end up with a little girl shooting up our school,” says Anderson. “We’re very supportive of the DARE program.”

After 32 years as an instructor, Miller says it’s rewarding for him to see former students contributing to society in positive ways.

“I’ve got former DARE students who are doctors, who are sitting on city councils, who are mayors, who are really contributing to the community. Knowing that in some small way I got to be a part of helping them get to that point (is really cool).”

Ellett will be speaking to students at another DARE graduation in Terreton on Tuesday.

Watch highlights of his presentation in the video above.

rett and rings
Left: Reporter Rett Nelson holding up Ellett’s Super Bowl rings. Right: Ellet’s Super Bowl rings up close | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

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