Smith lost his limbs when he contracted a rare meningitis blood disorder at the age of 3-years-old that caused his blood vessels to burn.
Due to his illness, the Harding senior’s parents were forced to make the heart-ripping decision to have their son’s arms and legs removed at their respective joints.
“I was 3, so I hadn’t developed writing and walking skills completely, so it was pretty easy getting used to it, Smith said of his experience.
Fifth grade was when Smith began to dabble in the highly aggressive sport of wrestling, and his positive attitude about himself allowed him to take part in his first match.
As far as the sport goes, even though Smith weighs a feathery 120 pounds, don’t let his size fool you; the teen has learned to use his physique to help him maintain a competitive edge against his opponents. According to his high school coaches, Smith moves better than his rivals and has led his school in escapes this year.
“He’s got the kind of strength people don’t normally see at 120,” coach Otto Kraus told CBS Minnesota. “Plus, the way he can move makes it hard to wrestle him.”
Watch Smith’s story here:
The young dynamo does have one drawback, though: he gets winded more easily than his opponents. In order to combat this Smith says he trains tirelessly so that he can overcome wrestling’s physical challenges. “For them to run 10 yards or whatever, it takes them like 20 steps,” he said. “But it takes me like 30 because my legs can only move so far,” he told CBS Minnesota.
Despite all that he has been through in his life thus far, Smith’s attitude about his amputations is one that should be bottled and distributed. Smith, who is determined to be captain of his wrestling team next year, said, “If you see yourself as not being able to do something, at least you should try and do it,” Smith said. “If you never do it at all, you will never know if you can do it or not.”