LSU student raises awareness for stuttering community through “American Ninja Warrior”

LSU student raises awareness for stuttering community through "American Ninja Warrior"
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Wes Meador, an LSU facilities management graduate student, is competing on “American Ninja Warrior” for a second consecutive season.

“American Ninja Warrior” is a reality show where competitors attempt to finish a series of challenging obstacle courses in order to reach “Mount Midoriyama,” the finals course. The person who is able to complete all the obstacles is dubbed the “American Ninja Warrior” and wins a $1 million prize. To date, only three athletes have defeated “Mount Midoriyama.”

Meador, the 37-year-old Prairieville native, was eliminated from his first season on the show after tripping and falling off a spinning log in the first round.  

Meador applied for the show in 2018 to help stay in shape, and when he was selected to compete in 2021, he had already lost 35 pounds and six inches off his waist.

Meador trains by performing similar stunts seen on the show and working out with his daughter, who he calls “the best little partner in the world.” According to Meador, his daughter aspires to be on “American Ninja Warrior” one day.

For this season, Meador has been focusing specifically on balancing core strength to avoid making the same mistake he made in his first season. He exercises at the Athletes in Motion gym in Prairieville, where he built a spinning log for the gym’s ninja program.

While on the show, Meador is raising awareness for the National Stuttering Association. 

“[I] try to be a role model for kids and youth who stutter,” Meador said. “I’m a person who stutters, [and I thought] it was a great opportunity to spread awareness…  [and] to help foster a better understanding of stuttering,” Meador said.

After appearing on the show, Meador has found new ways to support the community, including auctioning off a charcuterie board he created, being interviewed on a stuttering podcast, taking part in a stuttering PSA and an anti-bullying campaign. Meador also reads to kids who stutter and strives to teach inclusion for kids with any disability.

In his season 14 application video, Meador described the impact being on the show had on him and what he hopes to accomplish.

“Since the show, my life has changed so much and I’ve been able to help so many people… I will show the world that like stuttering, the course is just another thing that I won’t let slow me down,” Meador said.

Meador’s episode airs Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m. on NBC.

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