St. Charles, Mo. — It was one year ago when we met Ariel Puent, a St. Charles West softball player who was starting varsity as a freshman. As if that feat wasn't impressive enough, she really turned heads after people learned about her disability – well, more of a blessing to Ariel – certainly one she’s not just embraced after another year but has utilized to become an even better athlete.
“I guess it inspires a lot of people and I didn’t even realize that," said Ariel.
Ariel was born without much of her right arm due to Amniotic Band Syndrome, a rare condition that cut off blood flow to her arm while in the womb.
She hasn't let her
condition blessing from doing the things she loves, which includes playing varsity softball.
“You just have to prove yourself and then they’re like ‘wow, she actually can do that,'" said the 16-year-old sophomore.
While Ariel is still working on her hitting, she's continued to improve exponentially with the glove.
“She still has the same work ethic," said John Warnecke, St. Charles West head softball coach.
“I think she’s gotten even better with the transfer on her throws.”
Ariel’s mother, Julie Behrmann, credits her daughter’s adaptability to a disciplined upbringing.
“I would say that I was harder on her than some of my children with two arms because I knew that I wasn’t always going to be there. And I wanted her to be able to take care of herself and defend herself whenever she needed to," she said.
“She doesn’t let anything hold her back. And she doesn’t say she can’t. She just tries and finds her own way of doing things. And I think that’s great," added Behrmann.
Since Ariels' first story aired on 5 On Your Side last year, the teen has gained attention across the globe. Ariel has been contacted by pro softball players. She's been invited to be a speaker, mentor, throw out 'first pitches,' even be cast in a commercial.
However, Ariel is just focused on her team for now.
"Once you get on the team you just have that family bond," she said.
She' remaining humble.
“Because I’ve lived with it my whole life I didn’t think, ‘oh she has one arm, it’s a big deal,'" said Ariel.
She's continuing to prove she's a true warrior.
“You have to forget what people say about you and just do what you’re doing and keep on doing that and you’ll be fine," said Ariel. "Whoever says mean things you don’t need those people.”