Champion runner Kayla Montgomery is obviously a remarkably gifted 18-year-old looking solely at her statistics and athletic abilities, but what makes her talents even more extraordinary is the fact that she does it all while suffering from multiple sclerosis.
At the age of 14, Kayla Montgomery was diagnosed with MS, and in the years following, the disease has caused her extensive nerve damage resulting in complete leg numbness each time she runs.
“It usually starts in my toes and works its way up to my waist,” explained Montgomery in a recent ESPN documentary that has quickly gone viral. “It just stays like that for the rest of my run or race. It’s just a very strange feeling. You don’t know what’s going on. You just know it’s happening.”
The effects of the strange numbness were captured at the very end of a race shown in the ESPN documentary. As she crossed the finish line, Montgomery immediately collapsed into her coach’s arms as he tries to console her amidst her obvious confusion.
“My legs. Where’d they go? Please help me. Please help me find my legs,” Montgomery begs her coach at the end of the race.
The ordeal, which is shown at the 50-second mark of the documentary, did not only happen this one time. Montgomery says that she collapses into her coach’s arms at the end of every race and he immediately attempts to cool her down, as heat and high body temperature makes MS symptoms worse.
“I want to get cool as fast as possible so I can feel my legs,” explained Montgomery. “I try to, I guess, get it over with as soon as possible.”
Since being posted on YouTube last week, the documentary has already garnered nearly three million views and has inspired people all over the world. Check it out in full below.