17-year old Nick Santonastasso rose to Vine stardom after he posted a series of zombie prank videos in which he frightened unsuspecting Walmart shoppers in the aisles near his hometown of Bayville, N.J. What grabbed our attention shortly thereafter was Nick’s athleticism and confidence.
Nick was born with Hanhart Syndrome, a rare birth defect that left him with no legs, an undeveloped right arm, and a left arm with one finger. But he didn’t let that stop him from playing sports. While he certainly may have a future in entertainment, having recently pranked Walking Dead star Norman Reedus, Nick’s main hope is to inspire others. He even has the word “inspire” tattooed on the left side of his torso. His positive attitude is more than evident on his Vine profile, where he can be seen singing, making jokes, waving good morning with his “potato arm,” and, to our amazement, putting in work at the gym and going head-to-head with opponents on the mat.
From a very young age, Nick used a skateboard to get around. Since then, he has tried every sport in the book. Ultimately, he settled on wrestling, and he has been a member of his high school team for two years, weighting in at around 85 pounds, the minimum allowed for competition by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Nick wrestles in the 106-pound weight class at 20 pounds less than almost all of his opponents. “Wrestling is a lesson,” Nick said in an interview with Today.com. “Failure made me who I am, and in wrestling, there’s a lot of failure. I’ve had a lot of losses, but you just learn from it and get stronger. You realize who you are, and how strong you are, mentally and physically. It’s made me a better person.”