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Wife with disability inspires Utah man to vie for American Ninja Warrior title

(John Wilson/KSL-TV)


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SOUTH WEBER — Mike Stanger, 31, has dedicated the last few months of his life training to become the next American Ninja Warrior. The motivation behind Stanger aiming for a spot in the competition all started with his wife.

“Now I’m in good enough shape I can do everything I need to do,” Stanger said.

Two years ago, Stangers’ wife, Enedina, 27, was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes joints in the body to dislocate easily.

Since then, Stanger has had to become a warrior for his family, the sole provider and caretaker for his two daughters and his wife. “I needed muscle to be able to carry my wife,” Stanger said. He lost 35 pounds in two years after he started training to be physically able to carry Enedina, who is now wheelchair bound.

“The first time he carried me I think he had to relocate my shoulder,” Enedina laughed.


Now I'm in good enough shape I can do everything I need to do.

–Mark Stanger


After becoming physically fit for the sake of his family, Stanger, a self-proclaimed extremist, wanted to do more. “I saw 'American Ninja Warrior' and thought, ‘hey, I’m in shape, I can do that,’” he said.

Stanger auditioned for the NBC show but didn’t make the cut initially. He then decided to drive to Kansas City, Missouri, for the walk-on auditions. After spending the night on the streets, “I was pretty much homeless,” he said. He was the 13th person in line. Stanger finally made it onto the popular TV show, "American Ninja Warrior." You can watch him compete Monday at 7 p.m. on KSL TV.

You can also use #NinjaStanger to cheer him on via social media. If he makes it through Monday’s competition, he will advance to the next level and plow though more obstacles in Las Vegas.

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Nicole Vowell

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