Kayla Montgomery, a runner, is a story of perseverance like many haven’t heard. She has a condition that causes her to collapse after the finish line. Why?
As a little background information, Kayla has been active in sports from a young age. Particularly, she loves the game of soccer. Her parents note that they pushed her into a lot of sports activities because she was a shy person, as sports tend to bring people out of such a state. Fortunately, she had never suffered any collapses during her matches. However, one day, Montgomery encountered a serious complication.
At the age of 14, after a soccer game, Kayla noticed a tingling in her toes and also that she couldn’t really feel her legs. After being taken to the hospital and having MRIs and other tests conducted, the doctor contacted her parents. It turns out that Montgomery had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
If you don’t exactly know about MS, it’s a disease where the nerves’ protective layers are eaten away by the body’s immune system.
Kayla Montgomery is a true inspirationpic.twitter.com/n86qggJ9Wb
— hannie (@hannahbartlxo) March 23, 2015
Even at the time of the interview with ESPN’s E:60, Kayla’s mother was choking up as she told of how she received the diagnosis.
“And when he said that he [clears throat]… when he said that Kayla had MS, I honestly lost my breath. It made me, literally, sick to my stomach. I was a home-care aide, and I had multiple patients that had MS. So, my knowledge of MS was not a pretty picture. I mean, it was wheelchairs and hospital beds… paralysis and tube feedings. It was not what I had pictured for my child.”
After finding out, Montgomery says that she cried at first. She was inactive for approximately six months as well, during her initial recovery process. However, she didn’t let that stop her from doing what she loved: sports. Though she couldn’t play soccer, due to it being a contact sport, she chose to become a runner. While trusting her coach, Patrick Cromwell, she persevered through all her track competitions. He told E:60 as follows.
“She said, ‘I want to run. I want to run fast. And I don’t want you to hold back.’ “
And as can be seen from the video, he pushed her just as he would the rest of his athletes. Though the runner’s condition was a disadvantage, while running, it was somewhat advantageous — as she couldn’t feel the pain from the physical action. Yet, at the same time, she couldn’t feel her pace. Until she learned to control her pace, the only certainty was that she could run until she finished the race.
However, Kayla needed her coach to wait for her at the finish line in order to catch her, literally. With her legs completely numbed, Montgomery would crash hard. The symptoms of the condition would manifest more the more her body temperature increased. And since Kayla was a 5K runner, by the end of the race, she would literally need to be carried off the track after having collapsed from paralysis.
Kayla Montgomery will forever by my inspiration for running
— cindy vanesa (@CindyyyHerrera) March 26, 2015
None of it stopped her from her goals. She ran all the way through her senior year of school, even becoming the North Carolina 5K State Champion. As mentioned from the interview, she still runs on her own. She’ll run for as long as it’s possible, Kayla says.
lol the only way I can get pumped for track is by watching the E:60 video on Kayla Montgomery
— Page (@pagemanon2) March 26, 2015
What do you think of Montgomery’s story? How does this woman’s runner spirit speak to you?
[Photo & Video Credits: E:60| YouTube]