Breaking boards and barriers: Canfield 7th grader heading to Nationals in Para-Taekwondo

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) - Canfield 7th grader Cody Piver has overcome the odds more than once in his young life.

Doctors said Piver would never have a real chance at a normal life. Born 3 months pre-mature, with cerebral palsy and autism, among other things. But none of that has defined him. Cody met Master Justin Taylor last fall, and he encouraged him to try taekwondo.

"I talked to his mom about it and his dad, and I said, ya know, I think this is something that Cody can do," said Taylor. "I said, if you give me a shot with him I'd like to take him to States. They said OK…we'll trust you, we'll go for it. And before you know it, Cody was a two-time state champion.

That's right, last month. Cody won two gold medals at the State Meet in Columbus…both in form competition and board-breaking.

"Us disabled kids are just as strong as anyone else," said Piver. "No matter what your strengths or your weaknesses or your disability."

"He talks a lot more now," said Cody's mother Michelle. His confidence level overall of trying new things, not wanting to isolate himself, being a little bit more confident to go talk to other people."

Para-taekwondo has been a true game changer for Cody. He puts in 20 hours a week at the gym. And this summer, will compete in the National Tournament in Detroit…as the youngest athlete in the State to ever compete at this level.

"As we continue to progress Para-taekwondo, Cody is gonna be a cornerstone foundation in our community and other communities,' said Taylor. "To say, hey, this is something that all kids can do. It doesn't exist to him as a disability. He looks at life and says, you know what, we all have ability."

Cody's family is asking for help to fund their trip to Detroit this summer. To donate, please contact Michelle Piver (216) 379-0578.

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