There are truly no limitations to what we can achieve, and all constraints lie only within our minds. This story just proves that.
Hailing from Gateshead, in Tyne and Wear, the UK, Zachary Jones was diagnosed with a rare hip condition in his childhood. The youngster was told by medics that he wouldn’t be able to walk properly, run, and even play sports in the future. However, he has defied the unimaginable odds stacked against him to become a fitness trainer and help people achieve their goals.
At the mere age of 8, Jones was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a rare childhood condition that occurs as the blood supply to the ball part (femoral head) of the hip joint is temporarily interrupted and the bone begins to die. The disease, which is more common in boys than girls, affects one in 9,000 children, and doctors don’t know the cause of why it occurs, according to NHS foundation trust.
The 24-year-old was confined to a wheelchair for a period of two years and had to miss many months of school as he wasn’t advised to put any weight on his right leg.
“Doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to walk properly again without suffering a lot of pain, I wouldn’t be able to run, play sport or ride a bike,” Jones told Caters News Agency. “It was heartbreaking. It was like my future had been taken away.”
Faced by such a painful predicament, Jones spent most of his time playing indoors on a cushion with action figures when in fact all he wanted to do was go outside and play sports just like the boys his age.
Sadly, the football-obsessed child had to even stop playing his favorite sport and was told he would never be able to get back to it. During this period, Jones was even climbing trees and fences like all the playful boys his age, but suffering from a rare hip condition such as Perthes disease, things took a major turn in his life.
“All that fun was taken away from me,“ Jones recalled. “I went into a wheelchair and spent a lot of time indoors.”
In school, Jones was bullied by kids and was told that he was faking his invisible illness as he didn’t have a bandage or cuts. Faced by such cruel statements, the little boy would often cry to himself and wonder what sort of life he was living. Due to the condition, Jones didn’t have a lot of friends to engage with but he remains grateful to the few who would visit him at his place to play Pokemon.
However, after a few years of being restricted to a wheelchair, a determined Jones wanted to defy the predictions of doctors, and although he faced “excruciating pain,” he started to practice standing every day and began to notice positive results as he strived to change his life. Not long after, Jones ditched the wheelchair and moved on to using crutches.
“I just knew I had to do something,” a persistent Jones said. “I’d get told off by my mom for putting pressure on my leg but I had to try.”
As he went on to using crutches, the teen had learned to navigate his way and began “speed walking” on them. Not long after, he took the support of only one crutch. When a steadfast Jones turned 16, he began to hit the gym.
Meanwhile in school, Jones had begun to compete in sporting events such as running, surprising everyone. He claims that defying the doctor’s predictions was like a “miracle,” as he was told he would not be able to walk properly.
After completing high school, Jones went on to study a Bsc in sport and exercise science and then a Masters in exercise physiology.
As a qualified fitness instructor, Jones said he believes that many wouldn’t fathom the thought that he would take up a career in fitness injury with his condition. “Because of my disability, I thought I’d never make it within the fitness industry because I was scared I’d be laughed at for being different,” he shared.
However, the resilient Jones can now squat down while carrying about 220 pounds (approx. 100 kg) of weight.
Additionally, five months ago, Jones underwent surgery to reshape his hip although doctors told him that he had to replace his hip.
Overcoming such a painful ordeal, Jones said: “It’s like no one can stop me.”
“All I want to do now is to help people in a similar situation to improve their bodies like I did,” he concluded.
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at email@example.com