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Hunter Moore: From Not Being Able to Walk to Winning 1st Place in a Bodybuilding Competition

Once told he’d be raised in a wheelchair, this Texas high schooler is on a mission to “Prove Them All Wrong”

An interview with bodybuilder and high school long-snapper Hunter Moore, who has overcome physical and mental challenges stemming from cerebral palsy

Hunter Moore is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever interviewed. And that’s saying a lot, being that this is the home for inspiring underdog stories and we’ve published close to 500 articles over the years.

Moore is a Texas high schooler who was diagnosed with dystonic cerebral palsy at 9 months old. Doctors said he’d have issues trying to walk and would be raised in a wheelchair.

But Hunter was determined to “prove them all wrong.”

Today, he’s a long-snapper on his high school JV football team, one of the strongest kids in the gym, and recently took first place in a natural bodybuilding competition.

Hunter and his father – retired Army Colonel, Glenn Moore – have been documenting the entire journey on social media, which is how we got connected.

I was fortunate enough to ask Hunter a few questions about his mindset and the challenges he’s overcome.

After you were diagnosed with cerebral palsy on your left side at 9 months old, what did the doctors tell you? What did they say you would and “wouldn’t” be able to do?

I will have to rely on what my parents told me, and from reading my dad’s CaringBridge website where he documented everything about my journey since I was diagnosed at 9 months of age.

My parents told me that the doctors had told them that I had suffered a stroke that had severed my right peduncle as it went into the brain stem. I would have limited use of my left arm and left leg. I am a left-side hemiplegic or a left-side hemi.

This also caused me to suffer from dystonia which causes partial paralysis. I was born with “Dystonic Cerebral Palsy”. According to the ‘National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’, “dystonia is a neurological movement disorder caused by involuntary contractions that cause slow repetitive movements or abnormal postures that can sometimes be painful”.

“Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture,” as defined by the CDC.

The doctor’s words that I have used to motivate me and drive me harder than most are that I would have a lot of issues trying to walk, would never run, and would be raised in a wheelchair.

They said that I would not be able to live a normal life on my own and that my parents would have to raise me for most of my life. These words have pushed me to work harder than anybody I know, I want to “Prove them all wrong”!

My parents have always told me that I can do anything that I set my mind to and that I should never let Cerebral Palsy define me. They have encouraged me to never let obstacles stop me from trying what I want to do.

My dad is a retired Army Colonel and helicopter pilot. He has taught me since I was very young to not fear anything and not back down from a challenge. He has always told me that “Everybody has fears, even in combat, and being brave is nothing more than facing your fears and doing it anyways”.

So, I have taken the doctor’s words as a form of negative motivation to push me and my dad’s advice to always face my fears, to heart. Between the doctors’ words and my parents’ support, I have lived my whole life with the motto “Prove them wrong!”

Tell me more about some of the challenges you faced growing up with your health and the obstacles you overcame to get to where you are today.

After my parents struggled for 6 months with the news of my situation, they finally said that they both decided to do whatever it took medically to get me ‘fixed’ as my dad told me. So, my biggest challenge was all the medical trips.

I was in and out of the hospital a lot with 100s of doctor’s appointments.

I have had 3 or 4 surgeries, and 11 years’ worth of Botox shots up and down the left side of my body, every 3 months with 20-25 shots at a time. My dad would have to hold me down for them. I have had 2 complete cord blood stem cell infusions out of Duke University, have been in numerous constraint therapy camps, and have had a few gait studies.

Some of the physical challenges were trying to walk initially and then walking normally. I did not take my first steps on my own until I was nearly 3 years old. Shortly after my first stem cell infusion, my parents would work with me every night to strengthen my legs and teach me to walk with two straps around my waist to hold me up. My parents called them walking wings.

My parents kept a diary with videos of it all on a CaringBridge site – my dad had come home for lunch before taking his unit back to Iraq I stood up on my own, said dada, and walked to him. My mom was able to get it on video.

It took me years to learn how to walk and run without tripping and I still walk and run a little different than most. So, playing sports has always been a tough challenge, but I have been determined. I played 7 years of Soccer, 5 years of flag football, and tackle since 7th grade. I am the long snapper on my Junior Varsity Football team.

I have the greatest coaches ever on my high school football team at Boerne High School. They have encouraged and supported me to play. They do not treat me any differently than any other athlete, and they push me as hard as anybody else on the team.

One of the biggest challenges that I have had to face is fitting in with other kids and being treated as normal. Because my dad was on active duty in the Army for 30 years, we moved a lot over my life, every 2-3 years.

Just as soon as I got comfortable with my situation and with friends, we would move. It would start all over again trying to make people understand why I cannot use my left arm, why it is tucked under my armpit, and why I walk funny.

Making friends has always been a challenge for me.

The first couple days in the school lunchroom or on the playground, as the new kid is bad enough but one that has physical issues makes it one of the scariest places in the world.  You have nobody to sit with or talk to. Children can be mean with their words, especially when they do not understand and even the adults have always stared at me.

So, I am open with my CP and will tell anybody all about it. My parents have always been open about it with me and others. Since my dad has retired and we have lived in Boerne, Texas for over 6 years, I have made a lot more friends. The support of the teachers and football coaches at Boerne High School have really helped a lot.

Hunter Moore flexes his bicep on stage after winning 1st place in a natural bodybuilding competition. Hunter says: The message that I want to give others is to never back down. Do not let others define you and never let a medical situation define you. Fear nothing, try everything, and Prove Them All Wrong!

You went from barely being able to walk to now winning first place in a bodybuilding competition. What does that feel like? And what message would you give to others facing similar challenges?

I do want to clarify that I did take first place in a natural bodybuilding competition this past summer in Dallas. I also took first in physically disabled standing and 5th in teen overall in Las Vegas this past November.

It will be tough for me to be competitive against teens with no disabilities due to the fact that I cannot use my left arm normally, so I am not symmetrical. My right bicep is 18 ½ inches round versus my affected left arm at 14 ½ inches. But that does not stop me, it drives me to work harder.

Competing on stage was a dream of mine and one of the scariest things that I have ever attempted. While it was scary, once I stepped on stage, it was the most exciting thing that I have ever done. Hearing the cheers, screams, and whistles of support motivated me.

I had faced my fears and did it anyway and while I was posing on stage I looked out and saw my dad crying with pride.

The message that I want to give others is to never back down. Do not let others define you and never let a medical situation define you. Fear nothing, try everything, and “Prove Them All Wrong!” Always try to do what you dream of doing.

Who (or what) inspired you to get into bodybuilding? And what other sports are you pursuing?

I have always been inspired by weightlifting and bodybuilding. My dad and older brother have always gone to the gym every day. They would take me, but I felt limited in what I could do.

However, as time went on, I began to push myself harder and harder.

One of my bodybuilding idols is Chris Bumstead and I wanted to be like him.  As I got stronger and stronger, my dad began to film me and put it on his social media.

As a result of those videos, a long-time college friend of my dad, Koan Bice reached out to us about bodybuilding. He felt that it would be great for me to pursue, and it would help me get bigger and stronger for football as well. Since I was a deep snapper, which put me on the line with the bigger kids.

This past year has pushed me to get stronger and bigger in the weight room and my father’s friend Koan Bice, had watched a lot of my videos working out on Instagram and talked me into it. I was nervous at first since the competition was only two weeks away and I had never posed or dieted before. We called a long-time Hall of Fame natural bodybuilder and coach, Monica Steiner, for help with both and she helped me with everything.

How I got into football was from watching my brother play and playing flag with my dad as the coach.

Upon entering high school, I wanted to follow in my older brother Justin’s footsteps and play football. Playing wide receiver like him wasn’t in the cards because it’s hard to catch a ball or play a skill position with only one arm.

But I was determined to make the team and find a role so my father taught me how to long snap through multiple videos on YouTube and hours upon hours snapping on the field. My dad sent me to the “Rubio Long Snapping Camp” and it changed everything for me. He taught me so much about snapping and that regardless of my situation, I can do it with only one arm.

Since I was on the line, I needed to get stronger and bigger, so lifting weights was crucial to me. Now that I was playing on ‘the line’, getting into the weight room to build strength and muscle was even more important than before.

This made bodybuilding and weightlifting a perfect combination for football.

I had to find unique ways to work certain body parts with one arm. It all started with deadlifts by strapping my left arm to the bar. This helped me to strengthen my left leg enough to start squatting. My deadlift has progressed to 405 lbs, and a respectable squat of 300 lbs, a one-arm dumbbell press of 120 lbs, and a one-arm supine bench of 190 lbs.

I have videos of all of my personal bests (PRs) on my Instagram and TikTok.

The one-arm dumbbell press takes a lot of core strength since I have no counterweight to balance it. A lot of my gym work is done with machines, dumbbells, lifting unilaterally on my right side, or strapping my left arm to the bar and forcing it to help support the lift.

My current training schedule is 3 hours a day, seven days a week. I work out at a gym called Core Athletics in Boerne, Texas and it is my second home. My dad calls the gym the great equalizer – it’s a place where my disability disappears and I can excel and outperform other athletes.

Texas high school long-snapper Hunter Moore says: I want to show people and the world that I am more than just a kid with cerebral palsy. Do not feel sorry for me – I will pass you by and beat you.

If you could travel back in time, what would you tell your younger self who was struggling with walking and talking?

I would tell myself to not be scared, to not be embarrassed, or care what others are saying about you – and to not let people bother you.

More importantly, never be afraid or let others tell you what you can or cannot do. Do not let your disability define your limits. You are the one to push the limits, redefine them, and set the limits yourself.

Never fear and “Always prove them wrong.”

What inspired you to start sharing your story on TikTok? And what are your personal goals for the future?

My dad had been sharing my story with other parents dealing with children like me through his CaringBridge website, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

So, I started sharing my story on both TikTok and Instagram to show others with disabilities like me that we can do whatever we want to do and that the sky is the limit. I want people to understand that just because I have cerebral palsy, I have feelings, and a big heart with a strong drive and motivation to prove them all wrong.

Too many people with disabilities settle for what society and the medical field has defined for them.

I will define myself and not let cerebral palsy or anyone else define me. While I do get some negative comments on Instagram and TikTok, for the most part, the comments are very supportive of my journey and help to motivate me.

I would like to go to college, get a degree in marine biology, and become a motivational speaker one day.

Your father, Glenn, wrote on TikTok: “Nobody has the drive, heart, or work ethic like Hunter! He will go down fighting before quitting, no matter how much it hurts his pride. And nobody has faced more adversity than he has!” Where does that drive come from? What keeps you going when times get tough?

My dad has told me over and over that he feels like this has taught me how to deal with adversity, and he tells me because of that, I am stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally than most of the soldiers that he has commanded.

My drive comes from deep inside myself to be able to live as normal of a life as I can possibly live. I want to be considered a normal person with the same dreams and desires as a person with no disability.

People can be ignorant and mean when it comes to dealing with a person with a disability. We have feelings, and it hurts when someone calls you a handicap, makes fun of you, or tells you that you cannot do something.

I take that as a personal goal to be able to do what you say that I cannot do. It makes me want to prove them wrong and like my dad said, I will die trying.

I want to show people and the world that I am more than just a kid with cerebral palsy. Do not feel sorry for me – I will pass you by and beat you.

How can our readers support you?

We document my journey on all of these accounts:

My Instagram account is hunter_moore.123

My TikTok account is hunter_moore.123

My Father’s Twitter is @TGlennMoore3

My Father’s Instagram is @glenn_moore.123

My Father’s TikTok is glennmoore423

Editor’s Note: Massive thank you to Hunter and Glenn Moore. I appreciate you both being so generous with your time. Your story will inspire so many people from all walks of life.

For more inspiring stories like this, you can join 10,000+ subscribers on our free Underdog Newsletter 👇

Written By

Division III baseball alum (McDaniel College) and founder of Joker Mag. Sharing underdog stories to inspire the next generation.

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