One can look far and wide, all across the country, and it would be hard to find a more inspiring figure than Boise (Idaho) Centennial High wrestler Kory Puderbaugh. The freshman just completed an impressive first wrestling campaign despite lacking some pretty important physical traits. Limbs, for instance.
As you can see in the video above, the lack of any legs or a left arm didn't keep Puderbaugh from competing along with the rest of the Centennial Patriots. The teen was cited as a key member of a squad that finished third in state and emerged as an inspiration for the rest of the entire Patriots program.
"When I wrestle, it just feels natural," Puderbaugh told Boise Fox affiliate KNIN.
There's nothing normal about what Puderbaugh overcomes to compete every day on the mat. Puderbaugh has no legs, just one arm and two surgically repaired fingers on the end of his full right arm. When he works out with the team, Puderbaugh wears shoes backwards on the area just below his knees where his legs end. He does laps around the gym with the rest of his team and participates in all wrestling and conditioning drills.
According to KNIN, the freshman began wrestling in a middle school gym class and quickly emerged as one of the class' most competitive wrestlers. When he tried out for the Centennial team as a freshman, Patriots coach Collin Robertson said his physical strength stood out almost as rapidly as his ability to inspire the rest of the team.
"He's pretty strong and he'll snap you down. When he gets you down he'll get you hard."
In that way, Puderbaugh's lack of limbs can actually present an advantage for the young wrestler. Without longer extensions, Puderbaugh can swivel and spin remarkably quickly on the mat, using direct leverage immediately once he has an opponent in a hold.
Unfortunately Puderbaugh missed out on being a part of the Patriots' state title meet squad, though he had a good excuse for not being there: The freshman was at Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City, being fitted for a pair of prosthetic running legs like Oscar "The Blade Runner" Pistorious wears. The result has been a Puderbaugh who feels like he can run more normally. In his words, "It's like bouncing on the moon."
"I'm actually very thankful and blessed to be who I am," Puderbaugh told KNIN. "It's actually made me stronger as an individual."
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Prep football coach emerges as hero in aftermath of Ohio school shooting
• Video: Prep player hits buzzer-beater to help team advance in playoffs
• The most miserable sports cities in the United States
• Y! News: Grizzly bear charges 10 tourists in Alaska park