Sam Ahern 18, diagnosed with spina bifida is defying odds and competes in body building competitions. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Sam Ahern 18, diagnosed with spina bifida is defying odds and competes in body building competitions. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Incredible story of how teen defied doctors

Defying the odds to not only walk but become a professional athlete has been a dream come true for a Townsville teenager.

Sam Ahern was born with spina bifida and has struggled most of his life with the condition but is now working on a career as a junior natural bodybuilder.

In the past six months, he has lost 13kg and halved his body fat to now weigh 70kg with 9 per cent body fat.

Sam said he was amazed by his complete life transformation.

"The doctors told my parents that I would never walk, and I thought I never would be here," he said.

Sam Ahern. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Sam Ahern. Picture: Alix Sweeney

With the help of bodybuilding prep coach Leigh McKinnon, Sam competed in his first competition in Brisbane last month, placing fourth at the IFBB Queensland Qualifiers.

Mr McKinnon said Sam's achievement was outstanding and he was an inspiration to others.

Sam works out five days a week with Mr McKinnon and watches every single calorie he consumes.

He said the IFBB Queensland Qualifiers cemented his hard work and dedication to succeed in life.

"It shows no matter what life throws at you, you can stand up and say, 'that is not going to stop me'."

Looking ahead, Sam said his goal was to step on a global pro stage within the next 10 years.

"If I could go to Mr Olympia in Las Vegas, it would be a dream come true," he said.

Originally published as Incredible story of how Townsville teen defied doctors

Sam Ahern with personal trainer Leigh McKinnon. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Sam Ahern with personal trainer Leigh McKinnon. Picture: Alix Sweeney


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