There is something to say about human strength and perseverance not just despite the odds, but because of the odds. To look life in the eye and say, “you tried to make me weaker, so I will defy you and be stronger.” This is the spirit of Jason Johnson, a thirty-six year old wheelchair bodybuilder, mix martial artist, instructor, and public speaker. Before his accident, Jason Johnson perused common hobbies of any boy: soccer, little league, football, and karate. His athleticism and determination to be the best came to a sudden halt less than a year after receiving a 1st Degree Black Belt in the year 2001.
On March 10, 2001, Jason Johnson was traveling on his motorcycle when it happened. An accident erupted that left Johnson paralyzed from his T9, T10 down. Johnson had multiple rib brakes on both sides as well due to the accident; in addition, he had lacerated his kidney and liver, had nerve damage in his arms, and a concussion. After undergoing surgery for a period of time on his back and having two rods, two plates, and screws put into his back to stabilize it, Johnson felt lucky to be alive, and he believes that the determination he felt, as a result, was because of his mantra “It’s never over until you stop trying.”
After his accident, Johnson underwent therapy, and some time later decided to continue doing what he loved. He participated in the community by being a quarterback in Wheelchair Football at the Cincinnati Recreation Commission only a year after his accident. Johnson joined in the Adapted Snow Sports skiing competition, received first place in Wheelchair Racing (5k and 10k), partook in Wheelchair Triathlons, and received numerous awards in Amateur Bodybuilding competitions.
Now, Johnson instructs students of all ages, both one on one and in group classes in order to help develop their skills in martial arts and increase students’ self-confidence and fitness. He is a public figure, being featured on several television and print stories about his athleticism and raw determination as a human being that overcame great odds. Jason Johnson travels and tells his stories as well as has become the face of many advertising campaigns for rehabilitation centers and recreation promotion. He speaks to newly injured spinal cord patients and their families in order to give confidence and courage to those going through a rough time and show the patients that with perseverance and strength, their limitations won’t get in the way of what they love.
Recently, Johnson was in the Arnold Classic in 2014 and competed in the Wheelchair Nationals, placing third in Novice Division and third in the Lightweight Bodybuilding Division. Johnson loves competition and believes that it is “exciting and brings out the best in you.”
Throughout his life, Johnson has been the epitome of a strong individual insistent on continuing to do what he loves no matter what gets in his way. “There is something inside me that drives me to be the best in everything I do,” Johnson says in an interview, “I will sacrifice what it takes to be the best. I think of myself as Superman.”
If anyone were the caped superhero, it would be Jason Johnson. He continued to thrive despite adversity, and in the process has taken it upon himself to help others who are going through what he went through. His raw athleticism and determined attitude makes Jason Johnson a man of the ages and a true story of courage and dominance when facing one’s obstacles.
On March 10, 2001 I had a motorcycle accident that left me paralyzed from my T9, T10 down. I also had multiple rib brakes on both sides, lacerated my kidney and liver, nerve damage in my arms, and a concussion. I had surgery on my back and 2 rods, 2 plates, and screws were put in my back to stabilize it.
I have played sports; baseball, soccer, and football and was outside doing something when I was a kid. When I was 15 years old I stopped playing sports to study martial arts and mixed martial arts. When I was 18 years old I wanted to be the best in martial arts and mixed martial arts so I started weight training and doing cardio. Over time I became stronger, faster, and better in every way. I also just liked working out.
Competition is exciting and can bring out the best in you.
I was at the Arnold Classic in 2014 and Nick Scott said I looked lean and I should compete in a wheelchair bodybuilding show. I decided to focus my weight and cardio training and diet on competing. On March 21, 2015 I competed in the Wheelchair Nationals and I placed 3rd in Novice Division and 3rd in Lightweight Bodybuilding Division.
There's something inside me that drives me to be the best in everything I do. I will sacrifice whatever it takes to be the best. I think of myself as a Superman.
Its never over until you stop trying.
• Amateur Contest History
2015 NPC Wheelchair Nationals : 3rd Place