If you missed Enedina Stanger’s run during the American Ninja Warrior Minneapolis Qualifiers, watch it right now.
One of the most powerful stories of the season came from a relatively short run. Enedina has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. From The Ehlers-Danlos Society:
“The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are a group of connective tissue disorders that can be inherited and are varied both in how affect the body and in their genetic causes. They are generally characterized by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility.”
The painful disorder means that Enedina’s bones slip out of place. When the American Ninja Warrior community met her three years ago, Enedina was in a wheelchair, watching from the sidelines as her husband Michael ran the course. He started training in order to gain the strength needed to help take care of Enedina and their two daughters.
During season nine, we saw something incredible. Enedina was walking on the sidelines. After dedicating herself to nutrition and exercise, bit by bit, she’d gotten out of the wheelchair. This season, she walked up to the starting line. Her run represented a triumph that look place long before the lights of the show.
Enedina reflected back on the journey that brought her to the course.
“All of the obstacles are kind of nerve-wracking. I’m still controlling my bones to stay where they’re supposed to during the obstacles. It’s more like a graceful movement through each obstacle.
But honestly, I’m just really excited for this opportunity. That’s all.”
“I’m doing a lot of meditation. A ton of visualizing, putting myself through the course every single second. And then doing the same thing with my muscles. Making sure every single one of them is firing the right way, and I’m able to control them how I need to get through the obstacles.”
“Last year, after Matt (Iseman) announced that I might be on the show, there were a couple little kids that went to a gym out in Denver. There was a little boy and a little girl, and they looked at me and went ‘Oh my gosh! We’re so excited! You’re going to be a warrior!’ To see other people be so excited for this journey also. It’s my life, but having people involved in that journey is so just humbling and amazing. It’s such a huge motivation to keep pushing.”
“(Ninja Warrior) has changed everything about our family. Being a part of Ninja Warrior has changed our lives completely. It’s changed my husband’s health. It’s changed my health. It’s helped us be in this incredibly inspiring community.”
“I have high expectations for myself on the course. I’m going to have a lot of fun and see how far I can go. This body is going to take me far.”
“It doesn’t matter what obstacle you’re facing. It doesn’t matter what hardship you have. There’s a way to go through it, go around it, to work with it, and to be a stronger person because of it.”
We cannot wait to see what Enedina can accomplish and we hope she’s back on the course next season!