After losing his leg in an industrial accident, a Yulee man has spent the last 7 years working out and now will get an audition for American Ninja Warrior
YULEE, Fla. -- Yulee's Stephen France is a self described gym rat.
"I am right now," he said. "I'm in the best shape of my life."
He's in the gym every day of the week, all the hard work going toward one goal: getting on the NBC television show "American Ninja Warrior."
"I am completely capable of doing any obstacle on that course," he said. "But in some stages they string together 10 obstacles, doing it all the way through together will be tough."
The show is a test of strength, speed and agility.
Competitors try to make their way through dizzying courses as fast as possible.
Some of the best athletes in the world have a hard time getting though even one stage of the show.
And while France has been a lifelong martial artist, a Karate black belt, he still faces a challenge no other athlete has ever faced on the show.
His left leg has been amputated.
"I was trapped under the machine for an hour," he said.
A 4000 pound truss press rolled over his leg while he was working in 2006.
It crushed his leg all the way up to his mid-thigh.
"I was moaning in pain, total pain moaning," he remembered. "But where they finally lifted that thing off me I was like, 'phew' what a great relief."
He was life-flighted to UF Shands Jacksonville.
That's where he spent the next month and a half going through surgery after surgery to save his left leg.
They did the best they could, and he lived a painful life with his surgically repaired leg until 2012 when the pain was too much.
"I decided to have it amputated and it was a great play call," he said. "I'm off medicine, I can do almost everything that I did before I was injured."
So free of pain and able to work out fully again, his friends at Shands decided to help him make an audition tape for the show, showing off all his athletic ability.
He's rock climbing several days a week at Edgerock gym in Jacksonville, and at Club 14 Fitness in Fernandina beach every day.
The show liked what they saw, and invited him to audition and interview for the show next weekend in Miami.
He says after all he's been through, there's no obstacle on a TV show that'll scare him.
Put simply, he said: "I'm ready."