Originally aired on WCPO-TV – April 3, 2018
Taekwondo is just the medicine Austin Osner needs.
The 12-year-old Fairfield boy is training for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
Austin was born with amniotic band syndrome, which prevented his arm from growing.
“Ever since then, I lived one-hand dominant, and I have never known any other way,” he said.
The condition hasn’t stopped Austin. Instead, it’s encouraging him to keep kicking.
“It’s really odd, but also very cool, that you get to meet people by kicking them in the head and the body,” he said.
Austin said he owes a lot of his success to his support system of people who help him.
Tony Gaines is one of them. He’s the head instructor at Integrity Martial Arts.
“He’s made big strides on it, but it’s always going to be a challenge when you’re fighting someone with two arms versus one,” Gaines said. “You’re leaving a certain area of target open a little bit more.”
Kristin McGinn, Austin’s mom, said self-defense has helped him with overall well-being, a good sense of himself and the knowledge that he can take care of himself.
Between doctor appointments, training and tournaments, Austin is a busy 12-year-old. McGinn said he studies through an online school called The Ohio Virtual Academy to help stay on top of his busy schedule.
“That’s crucial,” she said. “Next month we’ve got three tournaments in three weeks, so we’re leaving on Friday morning, so he’d miss a whole day of school. But with this, he works ahead and he works a little bit more throughout the week and takes Friday off.”
It’s been working out for Austin.
“I feel like I’ve grown up a lot through the sport,” he said. “So it has made me more disciplined, makes me feel stronger, more confident in myself.”
To learn more about Ohio Virtual Academy, visit http://ohva.k12.com/.