Overcoming the Odds: Triathlete David Kyle

By Kim Essex - bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - He is blazing pathways all over the world, but eight years ago David Kyle was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

That hasn't slowed his down. Kyle looks to be the picture of health. He's young, energetic and athletic.

He is the Associate Director of Health and Physical Education at UA-Huntsville. He is also a triathlete who has taken top place in many competitions all over the world.

Ironically it was a life-changing illness that drove him to competition. In fact, life as he knew it came to a screeching halt in 2002 when we was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"I woke up one day with some numb toes, numb feet and in a matter of a week or two I was essentially paralyzed from the chest down," he remembered.

Kyle, who had just become a father for a third time was overwhelmed by depression. He spent the better part of that year just laying on his couch.

"I thought life for me was over. I'd always been a really physical person, very active person. That just hit me really hard," he said.

He says he realized he was not only hurting himself, but his family as well. He decided he had to get up off the couch and rejoin the world.

"I was physically suffering the effects, but they were suffering because their dad was gone," he said.

Getting up and getting on would not be an easy task.

"My first bike ride was just a couple of miles and it made me sick. I ran to the end of my driveway. It's probably a tenth of a mile and it made me sick," he remembered.

David set a goal. After a year of hard work and determination, he became the USA triathlon national champion in the physically challenged category.

In 2006 he became a member of the USA triathlon physically challenged national team. While on the team, he earned two gold medals in the triathlon world championships.

Last year he expanded his competition to include duathlon events. He racked up wins there as well winning the duathlon nationals in Richmond Virginia and earning a silver at the world championships.

"The triathlon was a way to be rebellious against the disease," Kyle explained. "It was also a way to set a goal. I set a goal to do the triathlon and it took me a year to complete."

So what's next for him ?

"I want to do the double, which would be the triathlon and duathlon," he said. "The triathlon is in Beijing and the duathlon is in Spain."

Even though he has won over seven world championship medals and nine national medals, his most prized recognition comes from his wife and children.

"I'm their dad, that's what's really important and that is really the song I sing. I want to say it's not so much that I am a world champion, but I'm their dad," said Kyle.

Kyle says the key for anyone with multiple sclerosis is to stay on your medication, set goals for yourself, never give up and be there for your family. It's certainly a formula that has worked for him.

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