Knicely Done: The Comeback Kid
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The tackle football season was over for 8-year old Cody Naidas and he was on his way to the post season celebration with his dad when their car was crushed like a soda can by another vehicle.
“We didn’t know if he was going to make it or not,” said his mother Ann.
Cody was placed in an induced coma and doctors used a steel rod in surgery three days later to try and reconstruct his shattered leg.
“I was worried about the quality of life he would have,” said Ann. “The doctors weren’t even sure if he would walk again.”
Cody in fact returned to school four months later in a wheelchair with little hope.
“The best way to describe the pain was somebody taking a knife to your leg and just keep going at it on your leg, rapidly stabbing over and over,” explained Cody, who is now 18 years old.
His attempts to put weight on his leg in rehab were almost unbearable. And the stares and rude comments by his classmates added to his misery.
It was the movie “Rudy” that helped change Cody’s outlook. The inspirational true story of the young Notre Dame football walk-on who fulfilled his unlikely dream to play in a game for the Irish struck a chord with the 8-year old.
“I watched it over and over at home,” said Cody. “It was just kind of that push forward to never give up, just keep doing what you have to do and maybe one day able to walk again maybe you won’t, at least you know you tried.”
Progress was slow but deliberate. Cody was eventually able to navigate the halls at school using a walker.
“Everyone would call me grandma or granny because of my walker,” he recalled. “I just looked and laughed and pushed on with my day, I couldn’t that ever get to me.”
Based on the Doctor’s assessment, Cody’s parents thought sports were out of the picture. But Cody did return to the youth football field and went on to play varsity football for Millard South.
He also excelled in wrestling.
“That’s when he started lifting weights so he would get stronger and I think that’s where his weightlifting started,” said his mom.
Cody graduated from high school last spring and when he’s not working, chances are you’ll find him in the gym.
“Lifting is my life,” he explained. “Day in day out, six days a week, two and a half hours every single day.”
Recently, Cody added one more chapter to his remarkable comeback. He entered the AAU World Power Lifting Championships in Las Vegas thinking that he might be able to compete.
“I didn’t even know that I could lift what I did,” he said. “It was just a big shock to all of us!”
Not only did he finish first in the bench press, but he also set a world record in his division with a lift of 335 pounds. He followed that up later with a lift of 347.2 pounds to break his own record.
“That first record weight killed me, it was a struggle to get that first time up, just a battle of me not giving up and from that drive I had when I was younger it was just that drive of don’t give up, you trained for this. Everyone was super excited, everyone was screaming, howling a community of people that I didn’t know. Little did they know that they were cheering for a kid who had a big comeback story to achieve something he never knew could be possible.”
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