Napoleon stands tall: how a childhood accident didn’t stop Kylan’s sports life
San Diego Community College District Student Athlete Spotlight
Save for kicking a ball into a net, most sports ask for the use of two hands.
In a sport like volleyball, you’re not smacking the ball over the net unless you’ve got two hands.
Unless you’re Kylan Napoleon, in which case a lack of the right hasn’t left him on the sidelines.
“I have to serve with one hand,” Napoleon said. “I have to spike with one hand. I have to block with one hand.”
It’s a story that ends on the volleyball court at Mount Miguel, where head coach Sean Alcaraz saw a young man wandering courtside.
“I asked if he was going to play,” Alcaraz said. “He said ‘maybe.””
Alvarez assumed, like many around Napoleon, that the off kilter walk, reduced usage right arm, and slightly slurred speech came from a birth defect.
“I didn’t know what really happened until a week ago because I never asked or assumed,” Alcaraz explained. “We treat them all the same.”
Napoleon and his mother were struck by a car as they were in a crosswalk when Kylan was only a year old. The head trauma almost took Napoleon’s life.
“By the grace of God he’s alive…and now he’s here,” Alcaraz said.
He’s a three sport star, playing football and basketball since his elementary days. Volleyball came later in life. It’s the junior’s first year on the court.
“I surprise everybody,” Napoleon said. “Friends…family…people that don’t know me, I surprise them.”
Playing well on the court has been fantastic. But like any upperclassmen, it all comes back to social media.
“After I got my first hit, I got a bunch of followers on Instagram,” Napoleon said. “That’s how I got so popular.”