Healthy Living

Math Teacher Conquers Sleep Apnea and Becomes Marathon Runner

Math Teacher Conquers Sleep Apnea and Becomes Marathon Runner

As you know, sleep apnea can be fatal. Obstructive sleep apnea affects over 18 million Americans, which is approximately 6.7% of the overall population. Even though sleep apnea can be a dangerous condition, some patients will secure treatment, follow it to the letter, and rise above it. One patient is Canadian math teacher John Young.

John Young was born in Toronto and had a common form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia. Young grew up in a foster home with other kids, and often, he was asked if he was going to be in entertainment because of his stature. However, Young was more active than people expected. While in school, he played hockey and competed in swimming. Doctors advised him not to run, due to his condition. So, Young avoided running as he grew up.

Aside from dwarfism, Young's weight was an issue, especially when he became a teacher. He was close to 200 lbs, which is dangerous for someone of his height. In particular, he noticed throughout the night, he was having a hard time breathing and would have episodes where he would stop breathing completely and wake up suddenly gasping. 

One of his colleagues in Pingree School Eric Olson noticed that Young always used to fall asleep at his desk in school. This was most likely due to the sleep apnea problem, because he wasn't getting quality sleep. Eventually though, Young decided to turn his life around and started to exercise more often by swimming and cycling.

Again, he tried to avoid running as much as possible because of what the doctors told him. But, soon, he didn't let his condition stop him. He started to run anyway--he felt it was in his blood. He loved it and it made him feel good. And, instead of feeling worse afterward, Young felt better.

Today, he is a member of an elite club of runners with dwarfism that has fully completed marathons where come up on top. He has already completed 10 marathons, including three New York Marathons and four Boston Marathons. He has also completed 50 triathlons as well. All of these feats were supposedly impossible for a person of his stature. He proved the medical community wrong. The most exciting part is when he lost weight and became fit, his sleep apnea was also alleviated.

Read on to learn more about John Young's inspiring story.

Photo source: Instagram/dwarfparatri

Photo source: Runner's World