There are few stories in sports as inspirational as the tale of Lex Luger. Born as Lawrence Pfohl in Orchard Park, New York, young Larry would go on to have a promising career in high school and college football. He even spent some time in the now defunct USFL before eventually matriculating to professional wrestling. Lex Luger, the “total package,” was born.
Luger’s meteoric rise to the top of the WWF was admired by fans and resented by most of his peers. Young and arrogant, he would often be seen admiring himself in the mirror while flexing. Despite that, he was invited to become one of the fabled “four horsemen” with Hulk Hogan and formed a tag team with Sting that held the belt for 523 consecutive days.
Then tragedy struck. In 2008, the 6’4” 240-pound professional wrestler was struck down by a spinal injury that left him a quadriplegic. It didn’t happen in an accident or during a match. His body simply gave out on a cross country flight and he woke up paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors attributed it to a life of pushing his body “beyond its limits.”
The Faith and Will to Rise and Walk
Modern medicine can work miracles, but some things are still unexplainable. Larry Pfohl, no longer the great Lex Luger, eventually regained feeling and motion in all four limbs, despite medical professionals telling him it was unlikely to ever happen. His career and the $5 million a year he had been making came to an end, but he had a shot to function normally.
The injury and his confinement to a wheelchair led to an opioid addiction. Larry’s next few years were a drug induced haze that eventually ended with incarceration. His life changed dramatically when he was locked up. Like many others who feel real remorse, the former world champion sought solace from a jailhouse preacher and gave his life to Jesus Christ.
Today, Larry Pfohl is an inspiration to others. He’s just 180 pounds now and still uses his wheelchair most of the time, but he can stand and walk when necessary. Larry will never bench press 450 pounds like he did in his prime, but he lifts the spirits of other paralyzed individuals through his ministry and motivational speaking.
All Lives Matter
Everyone on this earth has a God-given purpose. Lex Luger was a narcissistic, egomaniacal, nasty person when he wrestled. Larry Pfohl is a loving, caring, human being who puts the needs of others first. He’s proof that anything is possible and he’s our featured inspiring athlete this week. Here’s what he looks like now: