Kayla Montgomery of Mount Tabor High School (N.C.) has multiple sclerosis, but that doesn't stop her from running cross-country and track, winning titles and ranking nationally as she does. Because of her disease, however, she has a unique way of finishing races.
Montgomery can run fine, but when she stops, she has no sensation in her legs and falls. Her coach Patrick Cromwell, and a few select others, are there to catch her once she crosses the finish line, but if you watch the video above, it's a little scary to those who don't know that Montgomery has M.S. (It's particularly devastating to see her cry as everyone tries to help her feel her legs again.)
There was one time when Montgomery accidentally stopped during a race, though. From the New York Times:
At her state cross-country meet last year, she clipped the heel of a fellow runner in the lead pack and crashed. Facedown with her legs splayed, she could not get up. Runners sprinted by, and she slipped from all-state contention. Seeing a rival pass was enough to get her to use a nearby fence to pull herself up and cruise into 10th place.
It was a lesson in resilience. "Now I know I can do it," she said. "It may take a little while, but if I fall, I know I can get up."
Montgomery won the state title in the 3,200-meter race last month and will be competing in the 5,000-meter race at the national indoor track championships in New York on March 14. Her legs become numb as she's running, but according to her neurologist, that provides no physical advantage over any other runner.
After she graduates high school, the 18-year-old plans to continue running as long as she can. She'll be attending Lipscomb University in the fall on a scholarship.