Vernon teen overcomes possible paralysis, heads to weightlifting championships

VERNON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A teenager from New Jersey who could barely walk a year and a half ago has beaten the odds and will compete in the USA Weightlifting National Junior Championships in Kansas City next week.

Allie Wiseman, 19, makes it look easy. But the Vernon Township High School grad's path to the present was anything but.

"I'm very excited," she said. "I've really been pushing myself for this the past few months."

Getting to this point took more than just strength, determination and technique. In October of 2015, she was in the hospital facing an unknown and terrifying future.

"I started feeling these pins and needles in my feet and working up to my legs, and it was just really weird and wouldn't go away," she said. "But I would shake it off or wait a day."

She was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that in some cases can result in permanent disability. She was treated with steroids and felt weak for months. Slowly, she built back her strength at Crossfit Warwick in nearby Orange County.

"She came back really strong from it, so it's been an amazing recovery," mom Patti Lawson said. "It was tough. It was tough for her, and obviously tough for all of us who love her to watch her go through it."

Last September, Wiseman switched from Crossfit training to weightlifting. And just four months later, she qualified for the junior nationals in the 58-kilo weight class.

"Her dedication to the sport and dedication to training is unmatched," coach John Douglass said. "She never misses a day."

Regardless of the results next week, it's clear Wiseman has already won in so many ways.

"It's something special," she said. "It's something different. Not a lot of people I know do it. So that's what makes it special to me."
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