Teen track star with multiple sclerosis defies the odds
Kayla Montgomery, 18, is considered one of the fastest distance runners in the country. She trains with the boys' team, and has set multiple records. The 'TODAY' show says she does it all while battling multiple sclerosis.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society says the disease blocks nerve signals from transmitting information to the brain. In Montgomery's case, this allows her to run at steady speeds that would cause other runners pain. There is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis.
'But when she stops, her legs crumble underneath her and her coach needs to catch her to keep her from falling,' 'Today' reports.
Montgomery told WXII she doesn't focus on the MS while she's out there on the track.
'I zone everything out and I just focus on the race ahead of me.'
Montgomery joined her North Carolina school's track team three years ago, shortly after she was diagnosed with M.S.
The New York Times says at the time, she took more than 24 minutes to run a 5-kilometer race, making her one of the slowest runners on the team. Last month, she placed first in state in the 3,200 meter relay, ranking her 21st in the country.
She was even named Gatorade's State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year!
Montgomery's coach had some high praise for the track star saying, 'Kayla has been the toughest of competitors and humblest of victors.'
Throughout the last three years, Montgomery's parents say they've learned to stop underestimating their daughter.
'I'd never thought she'd get this fast, but at this point, I've quit doubting.'
The New York Times also reports Montgomery will be attending Lipscomb University in Tennessee this fall.