CINCINNATI — Cross-country runner Justin Gallegos is making history as the first athlete with cerebral palsy to sign an endorsement contract with Nike.
The University of Oregon junior received the news after a race, and he was visibly touched by achieving his dream of becoming a professional runner. Justin's parents, Brent and Tracy Gallegos, said they're proud all Justin has worked to achieve and were stunned to see him in that moment.
"I've never seen him that emotional ever…ever," Brent Gallegos said.
Justin's condition affects muscle and motor function, but he didn't let that stop him pursuing athletic excellence.
"He works very hard for it and when he sets his goals, he sets them very high," Tracy Gallegos said.
His story of overcoming obstacles is inspiring others right here in the Tri-State. Justin Gallegos was a big topic of conversation among some medical professionals attending a three-day conference for the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine hosted by Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
"(This story can) show the world that we really can be successful and contribute in some way to society and that we're valuable," Dr. Raffi Najarian, who also has cerebral palsy, said.
He hopes stories like Justin's will inspire others.
"It's great to see because it's something that we have seen, you know, up to this point," Najarian said.
As for Justin, he has a message for everyone.
"You don't have to let your disability or physical impairments stop you," Gallegos said.