A short ESPN sports documentary posted online earlier this month is being widely viewed and shared — and when you reach the 50-second mark, you’ll see why.
The “E:60″ special follows the story of Kayla Montgomery, one of the top long distance runners in the U.S.
Unlike most of her peers, there is a unique factor that separates the 18-year-old from her competition: she has multiple sclerosis, which has caused nerve damage that results in her legs going completely numb when she runs.
“My legs. Where’d they go? Please help me. Please help me find my legs,” she pleas to her coach after collapsing in his arms at the 50-second mark of the “Catching Kayla” documentary.
The moving feature on her life documents the 18-year-old’s transformation over the last few years, from a runner her coach Patrick Cromwell described as just “average” into one of the top young athletes in the country.
At the age of 14, Montgomery reported an unusual tingly feeling in her legs after a routine soccer game. At first, her coach thought it was just the result of sore muscles. However, when things didn’t improve, she was taken to the doctor and ultimately diagnosed with MS.
That didn’t dissuade her from running. Instead, it only pushed her more.
“She said, ‘I want to run. I want to run fast,’” her coach told ESPN.
Like others with MS, heat triggers Montgomery’s symptoms. As her body temperature rises while she runs, her symptoms get worse.
“It usually starts in my toes and works its way up to my waist,” she told ESPN. “It just stays like that for the rest of my run or race.”
“It’s just a very strange feeling,” Montgomery added. “You don’t know what’s going on. You just know it’s happening.”
At the end of each race, she collapses into her coach’s arms. He then immediately provides her with cold water and ices her body.
“I want to get cool as fast as possible so I can feel my legs,” Montgomery explained to ESPN. “I try to, I guess, get it over with as soon as possible.”
The end of “Catching Kayla” shows her win the final race of her high school career. Video of that moment has succeeded in giving “chills” to many who have viewed the clip on YouTube.
“Wow. There are no words I can write here to describe how much this girl inspires me,” one individual commented.
“If you don’t watch this, you are only hurting yourself,” echoed another.
“There are no words,” wrote one more individual.
At the time of publication, the shot documentary has amassed more than 1.3 million views on YouTube.