Girl With MS Among Fastest Young Runners in US
Kayla Montgomery may actually be helped by the disease
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2014 3:31 PM CST
File photo   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Kayla Montgomery is an 18-year-old distance runner who won the North Carolina state title last month and whose time (10 minutes, 43 seconds to run the 3,200 meters) ranks her among the nation's elite in her age group. The reason she is featured in the New York Times, however, is because Kayla has accomplished all that despite a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis three years ago. In fact, the disease may have actually helped her as a runner. The Times explains: Because MS "blocks nerve signals from Montgomery's legs to her brain, particularly as her body temperature increases, she can move at steady speeds that cause other runners pain she cannot sense..."

Kayla can continue running even as her legs go numb, but the flip side is that she will stumble and fall once she loses momentum or stops, explains the Winston-Salem Journal in an earlier profile. Which is why teammates or a coach are always there to catch her at the finish line. "When I finish, it feels like there's nothing underneath me," says Kayla, who has accepted a scholarship to Tennessee's Lipscomb University in the fall. Unfair advantage? Maybe, but "it's beautiful to watch her run," says her coach. The full Times profile quotes a doctor who suggests it might be dangerous for a runner to be oblivious to pain.

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Eoghan McGregor
Mar 5, 2014 12:04 PM CST
what's funny... is all you guys that are against her running wouldn't give a shit if she was last, or second to last. you'd be the first one cheering her one. you're just jealous, and don't have the balls to say so. you wish you overcome you're own struggles to accomplish what YOU want to accomplish. :) that's the wrong message. the message is "choice". do what you want, live your dream, and be happy. and this clearly makes her happy... so let it go.
Mar 5, 2014 10:05 AM CST
So the coach exploits her disease so she can win a trophy. She should be banned from the sport because she can't feel any pain, it's an unfair advantage.
Pam Johnson
Mar 5, 2014 8:52 AM CST
I have Secondary Progressive MS and run. I was using a cane and walker only 4 years ago. This past fall I finished my first 1/2 marathon, ran it 100% at the age of 53! So YES!!! It can be done!!!! My motto... is ALWAYS FORWARD and NEVER STOP!!!!