Bodybuilder reveals how mysterious and incurable disease shrinks his muscles overnight
For guys who like to work out, everyone knows that skipping leg day is a big no-no. No bodybuilder worth their salt wants to look completely stacked on top, but have skinny legs below the waist - which is why it's important to work out in that area. However, pro weightlifter Jason Sandford doesn't have a choice in the matter. He looks like he's skipped leg day no matter what, thanks to a one-in-a-million degenerative disease which has caused his legs to waste away, and even dislocated his knees multiple times due to the weight of his arms, head and torso pressing down on his lower body.
Jason, who hails from Herefordshire in England, is a former bouncer and martial artist who currently works out five days a week despite his condition, was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease back in 2004, and ever since then, his leg muscles have been slowly shrinking. Nowadays he's been forced to eat a high-protein diet to preserve the remaining muscle, and wear leg braces and use a walking stick to stay mobile and upright. He's managed to dislocate his knees 18 times, and has had extensive surgery to re-secure them.
Commenting on his condition, Jason stated: "Quite literally overnight, the muscle in them just shrinks away. There will be a spasm the night before and then, by the morning, a significant chunk of my muscle mass will be gone. CMT normally affects roughly one person in every 2,500, but I’ve been told by doctors the version I have is so rare, it only affects about one in a million. [My legs] are so weak that it only takes something like walking off a street curb, or even sneezing, for them to pop out."
He added, "My legs completely bow inwards, with the knee coming out of the back of my leg. Every time it happens I have another operation and have to spend another three months re-learning how to walk again ... I’ve now had so many general anaesthetics that I’m no longer affected in the same way and have actually woken up in the middle of operations – needing more sedation."
"I have spent years of my life now going in and out of various hospitals, but no one seems to be able to do anything that can help – they can only fix the symptoms temporarily ... I should be in a wheelchair now. I’m not because I’ve tried to keep moving and maintain my strength, by doing exercise. I also eat high-protein foods, which combined with the exercise I hope will keep me on my feet for as long as possible. But I can’t fight the inevitable force of this disease forever."
However, almost as painful as the physical injuries Jason has endured is the damage dealt to his self-esteem. Jason has described being taunted because of his body shape; and has lost a lot of his confidence. But despite all the pain he has been subjected to, he still makes it his mission to work out as much as he can. Jason, don't let the haters grind you down: you're an inspiration to us all.