Posted 10:15 pm, October 31, 2016, by Jodi Whitworth, Updated at 10:19pm, October 31, 2016
ANKENY, Iowa -- It’s been a life-changing year for Justin Phongsavanh but he’s not letting it set him back.
Last October, the now 19-year-old was shot outside of an Ankeny McDonalds.
The teen was shot once in the arm, causing the bullet to travel through his lung and eventually hit his spine. It left him paralyzed from the chest down.
“People don't see me as a 6-foot 1-inch person anymore, they see me as a 4-foot 9-inch person,” he says.
The incident hasn’t kept him from living, though. Phongsavanh is a first-year student at Des Moines Area Community College studying financial administration. He’s also a Paralympic athlete, competing in competitions across the county. He even ranks fourth in the world in discus.