Kayla Montgomery won the North Carolina state title in the 3,200 meter race last month and is headed to the indoor nationals in New York next week, despite having multiple sclerosis.
The disease leaves Montgomery's limbs numb while she runs and she collapses shortly after crossing the finish line, requiring a small team to catch her and carry her out of the path of other runners.
Doctors discovered the 18-year-old Montgomery had the disease 3 years ago, and since then she has dedicated herself to her cross-country and track teams, improving her 5k time from 24:29 to 17:22. The New York Times reports that her coaches have even wondered if the numbness may give the high school senior an edge, a concept her doctor dismisses.
Montgomery plans to race for Lipscomb University in Nashville on a scholarship this fall.