Landstown Middle’s Mark Carney

EditedCompass Keeper_Landstown MiddleIt never occurred to him that he shouldn’t play basketball. Sure, his mother stepped in and didn’t let him play football because it might be a little too much, but basketball? Why not?

Mark Carney grew up playing with his cousin and friends. He played in recreational leagues at the YMCA. He watches and roots for Kevin Durant in the professional league. He simply loves the game.

So, when it came time for tryouts for Landstown Middle School’s basketball team, Carney was not going to allow the fact that he suffers from brachial plexus palsy – a condition, which, along with other ailments, has left him without use of his right arm – stop him from trying to earn his spot on the Lancer squad.

“I played with a lot of guys growing up,” Carney said. “It kind of gave me the confidence to go try out.”

Try out, and succeed.

Carney made the team (a team, by the way, that won the city championship the year before) and has become an integral part of the Landstown roster.

“Mark is an inspiration to everyone on the team,” said Head Coach Bob Flegal.  “He is one of the hardest working players on the court and never gets discouraged. “

Flegal added Carney continually amazes his teammates with his ability to play the game with just one hand – including shooting outside jump shots, dribbling and going in for layups.

In return, Carney says it is his teammates who keep challenging him to dig deeper and work harder.

“They push me and I push myself just to make sure I’m on my game,” Carney said, adding he has found an energy from just being on the team that makes him want to work harder.

But Carney’s hard work doesn’t end there.

He also is enrolled in the school’s Gifted and Talented program, and says to be successful in school you have to push yourself in the classroom just as you do on the court.

“I’ve got to balance it out,” Carney said. “Homework, grades – that comes first; sports come after. It’s all about practice and dedication.”

Carney is quick to point out while he may have a different path than others, his success is not unique. Anyone who wants to put in the work can experience similar results.

“Keep striving for good school grades, or striving for whatever you want to do,” he said. “Go for it.”

*You can also read more about Mark in this recent Virginian Pilot article, which features students with disabilities from around the region who participate in sports programs.

Compass Keeper Q&A

What’s your favorite book?

What’s your favorite subject?
Science and English

Who is your favorite teacher? Why?
Ms. Kramer – She often pushes me and that makes me keep going throughout the day.

What’s your favorite TV show?
True Life

Who/what inspires you?
A lot of my teammates and definitely my cousin, Jalen Turner

What is your recommended study tip?
Flash cards

How do you like to relax after a long school day?
Watch TV.

*Do you know someone who should be featured as a Compass Keeper? Send your nomination to

8 thoughts on “Landstown Middle’s Mark Carney

  1. In a lucky accident, I stumbled across this article about Mark. Though it is incredibly inspiring, it doesn’t surprise me at all! I worked with Mark for four years and never identified him as someone with a disability, as he never identified himself that way. It’s so good to know that another one of our students is thriving.

  2. As Mark’s fourth grade teacher, this does not come as a surprise to me, but I am extremely proud of him nonetheless. I knew he had a bright future ahead due to his postitive attitude and diligence.

  3. I was fortunate to get to know Mark a bit this basketball season at Landstown Middle. As the coach’s wife, I get roped into helping with tryouts every year. Mark stood out as a focused, hard-working, and talented young man. He has all the qualities a coach wants in a player – he is smart, he listens, he gives 100 percent all the time, and he keeps a positive attitude – the same qualities that are needed to succeed in the classroom and in life. Way to go, Mark!

  4. Keep up the good work Mark and keep being successful.You have a true talent and remember there’s a good percentage of you going in the NBA.I believe you’ll be better than Kevin Durant one day.

  5. As a family friend I am not at all surprised by this article. This young man comes from an amazing family of hard workers who always strive for success. Congratulations Mark Jr and Carney Party of 5

  6. Someone sent me this article and I was surprised to see how much he has grown. I’ve known his parents for quite a few years and we lost touch but I’m very proud of Mark and just want him to continue to be encouraged. I’m sure he has been and will continue to be an inspiration to others.

  7. Your father and I are sooooo Godly proud of you. You have always been our hero. Your ability to never give up is an inspiration to us all. Love you to life…Ma and Dad

  8. It has truly been an honor watching you grow thru the years and now our “Little Mark” as we called him has now grown into a very strong and intelligent young man. No surprise to us due to the leadership and guidence of two amazing parents he’s been kept on the path to greatness. Mark you are truly blessed and highly favored. Congrats Nephew! We are so very proud of you. On behalf of City of Norfolk 911 dispatchers Congratulations and a job well done! Keep up the good work.

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