Wheelchair bodybuilder inspires others to reach goals, despite challenges

Wheelchair bodybuilder inspires others to reach goals, despite challenges

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A 21-year-old Scott County athlete continues to beat the odds.

Paralyzed at the age of 16, Brandon Strop is now on his way to becoming a professional bodybuilder.

"[The doctors] said 'Wow, it's amazing you're still alive because, I mean, you should have been dead," Strop said.

From a nearly fatal car crash that left him unable to walk, to his journey as an athlete, Strop proves anything is possible.

He works out at the gym for at least three hours every day. He said he has three gym memberships.

We met up with him at HealthPoint Fitness in Cape Girardeau.

"So, right now we are only at 180 [pounds]," Strop said as he put more weight on the shoulder press machine.

His workouts are all about getting stronger and building muscle. However, to make it in professional bodybuilding, takes more than a powerful body, but also a powerful mind, pushing you to keep going.

"I fractured my skull, lost my sense of smell. I'm now paraplegic around my bellybutton level," Strop said.

During his junior year of high school, on October 3, in a car accident, Brandon lost the ability to walk. He said he became sedentary, playing x-box to pass the time.

"That took its toll. In February I had a heart attack," Strop said.

It wasn't until last summer that Brandon got serious about his health.

"Last time I weighed was about a week and a half ago and I was at 165. This time last year, I was around 240 pounds," Strop said.

Last year, on October the 3, also the five year anniversary of his accident, he went to his first bodybuilding show.

"I got on stage and I was hooked. It was life-changing," Strop said.

Brandon is now happier and healthier, but he said he still has a lot of work to do to make it to the pros.

"Every day I'm making a push. I'm better today than I was yesterday," Strop said.

He said no matter your challenge and no matter your goals, it's all about finding you passion and staying focused.

"I could come up with a world of excuses. But it comes down to what do I want in the end?" Strop said.

For Brandon, right now, that means earning a spot as a professional bodybuilder, but his goals don't stop there.

"I will be the best in the world. That's what I want. If I can achieve it why not?" Strop said.

Brandon said once he earns his card as a professional bodybuilder, he'll be one of less than 25 wheelchair bodybuilders in the world. Also, at the age of 21, he will also be the youngest.

You can follow Brandon's fitness journey on his Instagram (@wheelswolestrop) and Facebook.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.