One of the stand-out moments from the American Ninja Warrior Philadelphia Qualifiers came when rookie Ryan Carson stepped on to the course. In 2012, Ryan’s right leg was amputated below the knee after it was impaled while he climbed a fence.
The audience sat in awe as Ryan navigated the difficult course, their perceived notions of what he was capable of dismantled with every obstacle he completed.
“A lot of people look at an amputation as a disability and I get questions all the time like, ‘Do you still run? Do you still play sports?’ It’s kind of like a negative connotation. I don’t see it as a disability. I don’t see myself as disabled. I can still perform athletically at a pretty high level. I wanted to change the word a little bit. Make it ability instead of disability,” Ryan shared with us.
He also told us that he was inspired by Artis Thompson III, another amputee who’s competed on several seasons of the show. That, as well as the viral T-Rex run. “If an extinct dinosaur can do this, I’m pretty sure I can do this too.”
On the course, Ryan stared down the Broken Bridge. Balance obstacles are tricky enough for any Ninja, but he told us those obstacles were the ones that made him nervous.
He tripped towards the end and lunged into a head-long dive to the platform that saved his run.
Ryan’s dad was overcome with emotion as he watched his son defy expectations.
He has a background in CrossFit and weightlifting. Ryan didn’t start Ninja training until just three weeks before his stellar run.
Ryan’s run ended at the Lightning Bolts, a new obstacle that proved to be the roadblock of the night. We have a strong feeling he’s not done yet though. As he told us, “There’s so much that I didn’t know how to do and that I’m still learning.”