NWA Paralympian featured on Ellen, scores gold on TikTok

FOX24

Born with a birth defect, he was told he could probably never walk—much less run.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — It’s a name going viral on social media, prime time TV, and of course, right here in Northwest Arkansas.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what disability or situation you’re in— you’re dreams are up to you. You can accomplish whatever you want,” said Hunter Woodhall.

Now a junior at the University of Arkansas, Hunter Woodhall’s athleticism didn’t come without hurdles.

“The condition I had was called fibula hemilia and it just meant my legs were formed in a way that I wasn’t going to be able to walk,” he said.

Born with a birth defect, he was told he could probably never walk—much less run.

“I was never going to be able to run or play sports or do these things,” Woodhall said. “It was a really big burden on my family and their circle of friends and people around them.”

So, his legs were amputated at a young age and got his first pair of prosthetics, giving him a new lease on life.

He said, “I went through a lot of bullying in the 5th and 6th grade and in 7th grade I met a few friends from the track team and so I actually started running track because it was somewhere I felt comfortable, somewhere I could be myself.”

“At the end of the day it made me a much better person,” he said. “It made me a lot more resilient.”

Bouncing back from his disability, and negativity, Woodhall excelled in the sport.

“I was able to start competing internationally,” said Woodhall. “I made my first world championships and then I got a bronze silver medal and then like you said, the paralympics. I was the youngest one completing in my event— another bronze and silver.”

A lot of hunter’s accomplishments happen on the track, but it also happens in an app called TikTok.

His videos? Catching national attention.

“I’m about to go on the Ellen Show, she’s right there,” he said in one of his TikToks.

With 1.2 million followers, this young athlete shares his story with the world through short clips.

Woodhall said, “I’ve only been doing TikTok for like a month and a half now.”

With a blue verified checkmark next to his name, he hopes to use the platform to inspire others like him.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t really have that person to look up to and say ‘hey they’re different, they’re doing it why can’t I’ and so I hope to be that person for someone else,” he said.

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