FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — The loss of both legs during childhood hasn’t slowed down track athlete Hunter Woodhall.
Woodhall runs track at the University of Arkansas, an accomplishment that seemed unlikely when he was born.
“Initially, the doctor said that I would never be able to walk. I’d probably be in a wheelchair,” Woodhall said.
Woodhall was born with a congenital bone deficiency. At eleven months, he had his legs amputated and received prosthetics soon after. By seventh grade, he began to enjoy running recreationally and wanted to try it competitively.
“I had a few friends on the track team. So, I started running track because it was somewhere I felt comfortable. I felt that I could be myself and that’s kind of where it all started,” he said.
Woodhall now is a two-time paralympic athlete and four-time world medalist. He is also a four-time NCAA All American.
“At the end of the day I feel like it’s a lot less about the medals and accolades and more just about impacting someone else’s life and helping somebody else, and really just enjoy what you do and having fun with it. Especially this sport,” said Woodhall at the first track meet of the 2020 season.
Woodhall certainly has fun with the sport. His social media accounts attract thousands of viewers.
More specifically, his TikTok videos, which have reached into the millions.
“I’m just blessed to have that platform in the first place and I hope to use it to inspire kids and have people chase their dreams,” said Woodhall, humbly.
Woodhall says he understands the struggle some athletes face because he had trouble overcoming the difficulty of prosthetic legs. He encourages those dealing with personal challenges to maintain a positive attitude and look for moments of encouragement to keep going.
“I kind of had a, why me question in my head. Like, why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? You know? Throughout my life as I’ve kind of learned, this gives me a platform. This gives me the ability to help somebody else – then it makes a lot more sense,” said the medalist.