A REAL Karate Kid
Adam Stone: More of an International Man of Mystery than you'll ever be.This real- life Karate Kid puts both the eighties version (Ralph Macchio), and the 2010 version (Jaden Smith) to shame. Meet Adam Stone, black belt in karate, ladies man, Honor Roll student, and Olympic athlete.
Some would say that fate tried to stack the deck against Adam from the very start. The now 15-year-old was born with Down syndrome, and doctors found four holes in his heart that necessitated open-heart surgery on the infant. Not long after Adam was diagnosed with autism and chronic asthma. His condition seemed so severe that his parents feared he would never be able to speak, and they relied on rudimentary sign language to communicate with their son until he uttered his first word at age three.
From that point on, it seems like all Adam has done is prove his doubters wrong, and roundhouse the preconceived notions of the limitations associated with Down syndrome. Besides dominating his dojo with his energy and laughter, Adam, who operates on a fourth grade level, is an honor roll student, plays basketball in the Special Olympics and (most impressive to this writer who cannot maintain a healthy relationship past a first date) has a steady girlfriend.
To some, it's a jaw-dropping list of achievements for any 15-year-old, much less for one that has faced adversity from the moment he came into this world. But, as Adam's father, Richard Stone points out, that's just the way his son is. "Adam puts everything into what he does." Stone tells the Iron Mountain Daily News with the appropriate amount of fatherly pride. "With that kind of attitude, I don't see where he can go wrong."
But there are plenty of ways to go right, and Adam's courage and positive attitude seem to be as infectious as his laugh.
"Karate touches so many different parts of who you are." Adam's Sensei, Sam Larioza says. "I think I've learned more from Adam than I've taught him."
Here's hoping that this wunderteen decides to take some time away from the dojo and start dolling out relationship advice for those of us in need.