Bullied Teen With One Arm Now Training for the 2024 Paralympic Games
After being pulled out of school because he was bullied so badly, his entire life changed.
Austin Osner has been a fighter his entire life. The 14-year-old was born without a right arm due to Amniotic Band Syndrome, a rare condition that happens during pregnancy.
While he never thought he was all that different from his peers, Austin was bullied so badly at the public school he attended that he became depressed and was eventually forced to withdraw when he was 10.
After leaving an environment that was not so supportive, things started to change for Austin. Four years later, he's excelling in his classes at the Ohio Virtual Academy and is part of the Peak Performance International Taekwondo team where he trains in Michigan, Ohio and Florida.
Kristin McGinn, Austin's mother, told Fox News that transitioning her son to a "bully-free environment" was one of the best decisions she's ever made.
"He was more concerned by the stares and what everyone thought of him," she said, but "the change has been dramatic."
Another game changer for Austin was when he went to a camp for amputee children hosted by USA Patriots, an organization with a mission to "bring athletic and veteran amputees together to promote the benefits of inclusive sport and therapeutic recreational activities."
"I kind of figured I wasn't the only one, but getting to interact with other people who were like me was pretty good," he said.
He also won his first taekwondo competition, and has started training in hopes of qualifying for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, France. He has won medals at state championships and has competed against (and defeated) quite a few able-bodied athletes.
Watch Austin's knife hand break at a taekwondo class...
Austin says that learning martial arts has given him a much more positive outlook on life.
"This sport has given me the confidence to push my limits and go out of my comfort zone," he said.
"I've learned that I can be so much more than I ever thought I could be." - Austin Osner
With the confidence he's gained from the competitions, Austin has started visiting schools and speaking at assemblies about bullying and acceptance. He even returned to his old school where he was bullied to speak alongside USA Patriot member, Cody Rice (pictured below with Austin).
He encourages others who may be getting bullied to focus on the people who bring positivity to their lives and keep doing the activities they love.
"Find what makes you happy. Find what you enjoy," he said. "Just embrace yourself and life. ... Use all that negative energy thrown at you to do some good as well."
Kudos to Austin for overcoming his physical challenges to meet his goals. We hope he makes it to the 2024 Paralympics and beyond!
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