American Ninja Warrior Karson Voiles is on a National Finals streak right now! He has advanced to Las Vegas each time he’s competed since season six. (Karson didn’t take part in season 8.) Now, he’s also hit the buzzer on Stage One three times in a row. After running the Minneapolis Qualifiers and City Finals courses, Stage One was Karson’s first buzzer this season. But hey, if you have to wait to hit a buzzer, THAT was the one to hit.
While his Ninja resumé is super impressive all on it’s own, it’s worth mentioning that Karson is balancing his high-level performances against some heavy challenges in his personal life. He faces a serious ongoing stomach condition. As we saw on night one of the National Finals, Karson and his family are also dealing with his wife’s diagnosis of a brain tumor.
Karson let us in on what he experiences, how his season has been, and gave us an update on his wife, Kami.
“My stomach condition comes and goes. Usually I get a flair up once a year. The exit to my stomach will completely close off and I have to survive off of nutrient enriched fluid packs administered via IV. It is typically a beauty treatment, so I sit in the room getting my fluids with a bunch of older ladies trying to make their skin look younger, haha!
To remedy the issue I have to go through several procedures where they stick a tube down my throat (an endoscopy) and use a tiny balloon to stretch out the exit of my stomach one millimeter at a time. It sucks, to say the least.
I have to really watch my diet in order to try and avoid a flair up. This consists of eating ONLY liquid egg whites for several weeks at a time. I try to fit in my Ninja training after I do an IV bag as that is when I have the most energy.”
“I had a couple of slip-ups in Minneapolis, and feel I should have finished the course on both nights. But obviously I did well enough for Vegas so I have to feel good about that. I always feel better about Vegas then I do in the regional because that is what I really train for.
I felt very confident overall after looking at the course in Minneapolis. I had been having some shoulder issues going into the competition so the Iron Maiden was certainly in my head a bit.
With everything going on in my home life I had a lot more on my mind then usual. This made it a little harder to focus, but gave me a special kind of motivation to crush the course.”
“Because it is such a short time frame between Minneapolis and Vegas I typically train for Vegas even before the regional so I don’t switch things up much. I focus on Vegas and hope that I make it there!”
“One step at a time. Kami is a warrior herself, so it can be hard to tell if she is just toughing through it or if she is improving. Her latest MRI test results show that the tumor hasn’t grown, but it hasn’t shrunk either. For now she will up the dose of her medication and hope that things improve.
Kami’s tumor is non cancerous. It is located on her pituitary. The prognosis looks good and we will likely be able to treat it with only medications. My father had the exact same tumor when I was a kid.”
I absolutely love Stage One! The course was right up my alley and I tend to do well with the added pressure of the clock.
The Double Dipper was taking a ton of solid ninjas down. After I completed the Double Dipper, I paused for a second and saw my wife and daughter on the side line. I smiled and blew them a kiss knowing that I should have no problem with the rest of the course.”
Karson will have the pressure of the clock on him once again when he returns to Stage Two on September 10.