SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – A Salem High School senior is defying the odds. Ashtin Ward was recently diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder, hindering his ability to walk on his own. We found out how he is overcoming the disease.

To the average eye, Ward is your typical high school senior, but he has been facing a difficult battle for quite some time. It started last summer around football season.

“I was trying to lift weights and I realized that I couldn’t lift my normal 300, 400 pounds when I was squatting,” he said.

Ward experienced severe tremors and was soon unable to walk without a walker. After a trip to the doctor, he was told the tremors were normal and there was no reason to be concerned.

“But then my symptoms started progressing. I couldn’t walk up or down stairs, I was proceeding to fall. I had proceeded to start having memory loss. I didn’t know where I was, how I got there,” Ward said.

He took a few more trips to the doctor and more tests were run.

“After realizing there was nothing physically wrong, he ended up diagnosing me with functional neurological disorder,” Ward said.

Functional neurological disorder, also known as conversion disorder, is described by the Mayo Clinic as nervous system symptoms that can’t be explained by a neurological disease or other medical condition.

In Ward’s terms, “If you think of a computer. The hardware of the computer is perfectly fine but the software that’s running on it is not working at all.”

Ward spent about two weeks at Akron Children’s for nonstop therapy. Through hard work and dedication, he is now able to walk unassisted and will be able to cross the stage on his own at graduation, which he says is “a lot better than rolling up to graduation.”

Ward hopes his situation can serve as encouragement for others who may be battling something.

“There’s multiple times where I just kind of wanted to like stop working, kind of just give up. But I just kept going anyway, no matter how much pain I was in,” he said.