Disabled HS Student Power Lifts His Way To National Recognition - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Disabled HS Student Power Lifts His Way To National Recognition

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John Hess, 15, is part of the Pennridge High School powerlifting team. The team is considered to be one of the best in the country. John Hess, 15, is part of the Pennridge High School powerlifting team. The team is considered to be one of the best in the country.
BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. -

A Pennridge High School student who has spent most of his life in a wheelchair has power-lifted his way to national recognition.

Fifteen-year-old John Hess, who was born with Spina Bifida and without the use of his legs, has had a life filled with challenges.

Last summer, he was given a challenge by a school coach that even his own mother doubted.

"He asked me if I wanted to join the power lifting team," Hess told FOX 29's Chris O'Connell.

From that day, John was a part of the Pennridge High School power lifting team, which is considered to be one of the best in the country.

"Since that day, John would come in and I would just train him," coach CP Pattison said.

John's goal was to be on the team - not as a scorekeeper or an equipment manager - but as an athlete.

Last week, he fulfilled his dream to compete just like everyone else.

"It was my first one so I really didn't know what to expect," John said.

John went up against 11 other weightlifters and won, lifting 135 pounds and the spirits of everyone around him.

"When Johnny won his last lift, it was like, what you felt in that audience, I mean, he got a standing ovation," coach Pattison said.

Since pumping iron, John has become stronger in many ways.

"He has gained a whole new confidence, I mean, I say he's my muscle man and he's got the ego to go with it," Christle Chapman, John's mother, said.

Now that John has had a taste of winning, this may be just the beginning.

John tells FOX 29 his next goal is to bench press 250 pounds.

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