Florida high school weightlifter with hemophilia wins district title

University High School’s Navin Otway has a passion for lifting.

"I’ve always loved lifting. It’s been a way for me to get away mentally and physically," Otway said.

Otway is also living with hemophilia. It’s a disease that causes his blood to not clot properly. Because of the diagnosis, he’s only been allowed go participate in low-contact sports his entire life. When Otway decided to come out for the weightlifting team, head coach Justin Roberts did have some concerns.

"I was nervous, obviously. But I saw how committed he was and how much of a hard worker he was. It kind of helped ease things," Roberts said.  

Otway takes medication for his condition once a week, but there’s always a concern or the ‘what if’ scenarios that run through his mind.

"Move the wrong way, if the weight’s too heavy for me, my joints could start bleeding. Whenever I go for the jerk and my foot hits the ground, my ankle could start to bleed," Otway said.

But he overcame that to become a first time district champion this season. Otway said he has always enjoyed weightlifting, but this is only his second year doing it competitively and his first as a member of the varsity squad. He said next year as a senior, he’s hoping for even more success. 

"I feel a little bit more empowered. I also feel as if I worked harder and overcame something that most people wouldn’t overcome, and I hope that one day I can be an inspiration to other hemophiliacs," Otway said.