By Peter Leonardo
Three years ago, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Kayla Montgomery 18, was diagnosed with M.S. (Multiple-Sclerosis). She has gone on to become one of the fastest young distance runners in the country-one who cannot stay on her feet after crossing the finish line.
Because M.S. blocks nerve signals from Montgomery’s legs to her brain, her body temperture increases and she can move at steady speeds that causes other runners pain she cannot sense. In this way, the symtoms of her disease might actually give her an athletic advantage.
But intense exercise can also triger weakness and instability– when Montgomery goes numb in races, she can continue moving foward as if on autopilot, but any disruption, like stopping, makes her lose control.
Montgomery says,”When I finish it feels like there’s nothing there”. She also said, “I start out feeling normal and then my legs go gradually go numb.I’ve trained myself to think about other things while I race, but when I brake the motion, I can’t control them and I fall.”