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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Kyle Maynard
Aired November 29, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive: An inspiration you will not soon forget. Kyle Maynard, born with no elbows, no knees, no hands, no feet. Now he's a model, an athlete, and an inspiration to all who know him. The incredible Kyle Maynard is next, exclusive on LARRY KING LIVE.
Later we'll meet his parents and his girlfriend. Kyle Maynard is with us here in Los Angeles. He was born with congenital amputation. He's a wrestler at the University of Georgia, motivational speaker, a model, and he won the 2004 Espy for the best athlete with a disability. The Espies given by ESPN. We welcome Kyle Maynard.
Explain what you -- what this is.
KYLE MAYNARD: Well, I was born with a disorder known as congenital amputation, which is just shortened limbs. And that's something that I've had to contend with my entire life. I don't know any different way. And it's really -- it's blessed me in a lot of ways too. And I think that people are really made by the adversity that they face in their life.
KING: Shortened limbs meaning?
K. MAYNARD: My arms end about the elbows.
KING: They never grew out.
K. MAYNARD: Right, exactly. It was just a birth defect. It was congenital. So I really had to -- that's the only way that I know.
KING: Does someone in the past in the family have it?
K. MAYNARD: No, it's really just a random thing. And that's why I think -- it's just -- you know, my calling to life. Just to go out there and to succeed.
KING: Did your parents know it was going to be that way before you were born?
K. MAYNARD: They really didn't.
KING: No, they didn't see through that thing -- what do they call that thing?
K. MAYNARD: The ultrasound?
K. MAYNARD: The technology back then wasn't as grand as it is now. But it really -- you know, I think it was just meant to be. I fell in the right hands. My parents are tremendous people. And they've really helped me out along the way.
KING: Any brothers and sisters?
K. MAYNARD: I've got three little sisters. Gorgeous girls. You know, they're completely normal, able-bodied girls. They're cheerleaders and play basketball and softball and tennis and the whole bit.
KING: So you were first born?
K. MAYNARD: I was, first born son.
KING: And were your parents frightened about those coming after you?
K. MAYNARD: You know, I'm not really sure about that.
KING: We'll ask them later.
K. MAYNARD: Yeah. I think that -- you know, really, that they just gave me so much love in my life. They didn't really care. And they didn't ever look at me as different. And because of that, I've never looked at myself that way.
KING: All right. When did you know, if you can remember that far back, I'm different?
K. MAYNARD: I would have to say probably the first time that I really went to school. You know, because I had to deal with all these other kids that were asking a lot of questions.
KING: But you could see, when you were 3, 4 years old, your parents were walking around, right, and they had arms?
K. MAYNARD: Right. But they didn't teach me that, that I was different at all.
KING: They didn't?
K. MAYNARD: No, they taught me that I was just like anybody else. And that's the truth. I think that everybody has their own pursuit of normalcy in their life. You know, everybody has challenges to deal with. And it's how you overcome that that defines you as a person.
KING: You think -- this would be a guess -- it's a lot different having been born that way than if you had lost them in battle?
K. MAYNARD: Oh, completely. And I think that, you know, there's a lot of people that inspire me every day just because they had something, and they had it taken away. You know, they were able to walk before, and maybe like a car accident or something like that may have had it taken away. That's a lot harder tribulation to contend with.
And for me, it's the only way that I've known.
KING: Yeah, but you still never had a time when you were angry? You know -- all right, you go to school. Everybody there is normal. How did you get into -- I mean, how did they take you to school?
K. MAYNARD: I rode the bus just like any other kid. And I had a wheelchair to get around with. Yeah, there were times too that I'd get angry. And I'd wonder, why me? Why would I have to contend with something that nobody else has to? But I think in the end, truly, that everybody's obstacles in life kind of even out. And I think that, you know, mine are just a little bit more apparent than anybody else's.
KING: Are you aware of people looking at you?
K. MAYNARD: Yeah. And sometimes I...
KING: Do you ever get used to that?
K. MAYNARD: No, you can't, really. There's a lot of curiosity sometimes from kids, sometimes from adults. It's even tougher when it's from adults. You know, I can be at the airport a lot, and if I'm getting on a plane, then some of the flight attendants are almost belligerent about making me get in an aisle chair just to get on the plane. It's like, no, I can walk. I can wrestle. But I don't want to go out there and have to explain myself to everybody. I just want people to treat me the way I'd want to treat myself.
KING: So when you say you can walk. You have to be in a chair?
K. MAYNARD: No, I can get down, I can sprint, do bear crawls. That's the way that I...
KING: You can walk across the floor?
K. MAYNARD: I can walk across the floor in a hand stand. I can do just about anything anybody else can. I think I can keep up with most faster kids my age just on all fours, doing a sprint.
KING: We're seeing shots of you there. What made you take up wrestling?
K. MAYNARD: Wrestling's been my passion. I really enjoy every bone grinding second of it. It's really just...
KING: Don't you have a distinct disadvantage? You can't grab.
K. MAYNARD: Yeah, that's true. And that's been addressed before. But you know, surprisingly enough, there have been people that have said that I have an unfair advantage over my opponents...
KING: Because? K. MAYNARD: Because I've beaten so many of them. Because I have a strength advantage over them, because I train so much harder. And so there have been people that have said that.
KING: And are you quicker?
K. MAYNARD: I try to be. I work as hard as I possibly can. But I think that, you know, obviously, if I'm going to beat kids, which I have been a lot lately, then it's just -- obviously I have an advantage over them in some way or another.
KING: What did you want to be in life? In other words, now -- let's say you're in high school, right? How old are you now?
K. MAYNARD: I'm 18.
KING: What did you want to decide -- you're a freshman at the University of Georgia, right?
K. MAYNARD: Right.
KING: What did you -- when you were 13, everybody says I want to be a cop, I want to be a doctor. What did you want to be?
K. MAYNARD: I wanted to be a cop. I've wanted to help people out that way. Throughout my entire life, I've wanted to help people, and now it's just kind of changed into being a motivational speaker. Speaking with the Washington Speakers Bureau.
KING: Oh, do they book you? They're the largest in the country.
K. MAYNARD: They do. And they're tremendous. And you know, I really have aspirations later on in life to open up wellness centers as well. You know, I want to help impact people in their fitness, in their athletic life.
KING: How did people start getting attention to you? How did the Washington Speakers Bureau find you? How did anybody know about you? Was there a story somewhere?
K. MAYNARD: Well, actually, you know, it kind of began as a -- I began wrestling and playing football. I played football for three years too in middle school.
KING: What position?
K. MAYNARD: Played defensive line. Played nose tackle. I enjoyed it a lot. But then, as time progressed, my senior season in high school I actually got to meet one of my closest friends, and now he's my manager, Tony Marinosi (ph), who's helped me out a lot. He's a screenwriter and we're hoping to work towards a book and movie deal.
KING: About your life?
K. MAYNARD: Yes.
KING: And you model? What do you model?
K. MAYNARD: Just recently I had this opportunity too. Got to model for Abercrombie and Fitch in their latest winter catalog. And it was an awesome experience. Got to go out there and hang out with all these other kids, and just kind of see what was on the set.
KING: You could model shirts?
K. MAYNARD: Sure. I think, I could, you know...
K. MAYNARD: Anything. I think even shorts if they're cut up, just like the shots that they took for the Abercrombie thing, they had me in these shorts and boxers.
KING: Since it's the only way you've known how to live, obviously I remember once a blind person telling me they were happy they were born blind rather than have gone blind.
K. MAYNARD: Right.
KING: Because if you've gone blind, you've seen. So you don't know what it's like to walk.
K. MAYNARD: No, I don't.
K. MAYNARD: But I know what it's like to walk in my own way, I know what it's like to run.
KING: Right. Are you envious of people with feet and hands?
K. MAYNARD: You know, it's -- I have been at times. Especially in wrestling matches, where I'm so close to getting that single let (ph), so close to finishing that shot, and I just -- all I want is the take-down. And if I had an extra three inches just to grab onto the leg, then I'd be done. But because I don't have that extra reach, then sometimes it's hard to get there. So yeah, that's always been something I've had to contend with. But I don't think that anybody can sit back and wonder what life would be like if they were given a different set of cards. I think that I'm going to make do with what I've got and I'm going to try to, you know.
KING: What is the hardest thing to do?
K. MAYNARD: Varying things from day to day.
K. MAYNARD: Opening a coke can. You know, different things like that. People kind of take for granted that are tougher for me. I've just got to carry around a bottle opener, just to...
KING: And what do you use to open it with? K. MAYNARD: Just a bottle opener like anybody else.
KING: In your mouth?
K. MAYNARD: No, I can just pop it open with my arms.
KING: Oh, you can? You can get...
K. MAYNARD: Yeah.
KING: Do you -- can you dress yourself?
K. MAYNARD: I can, yeah. Obviously, you know, living on my own, completely -- I'm at University of Georgia. Living in the dorms.
KING: Living in the freshman dorm?
K. MAYNARD: Right. You know, there's nobody there that's going to be able to help me out with anything. You know, if it's opening up a package or anything like that, then my roommate, he'd definitely help me out. But there's challenges that I meet. I have to overcome them.
KING: Are you on a wrestling scholarship?
K. MAYNARD: No. There's actually -- University of Georgia doesn't have a wrestling program, because of certain things that have happened with Title IX, legislation that had such good intentions, but...
KING: So where do you wrestle?
K. MAYNARD: I wrestle in an intercollegiate club team. We wrestle other club teams. We wrestle other Division I schools around the area. But we aren't able to be on scholarship because of this. And it's something that's really, you know, hurt the sport in general, and we've had to...
KING: Paying student, then?
K. MAYNARD: I am. I'm on a half academic scholarship right now.
KING: What was your grade point average?
K. MAYNARD: 3.7 through high school.
KING: We'll be right back with Kyle Maynard. At the halfway mark, we'll meet his parents and his girlfriend. Kyle at the University of Georgia, an extraordinary story. Also does speaking. We'll ask him lots of other things. We'll take some of your phone calls as well. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MAYNARD: Two hundred and five pounds, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) set of 14 to start with, then down to 12 and eight. So (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I guess to -- it's a wear on you if you do them really quick and repetitious. But I love it. It's my passion, really lifting a lot. My dad, he got me into lifting when I was about -- you know, towards the end of fifth grade. So I've been doing it forever. And eventually I want to, you know, open up a chain of fitness centers to try to motivate people to meet their own personal goals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MAYNARD: Football really got me into all the other things that I've gotten to pursue throughout my life. Including wrestling, weight training, different martial arts I started doing. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have had those opportunities to compete. So in that sense, I loved it. And I loved every bone grinding second of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Kyle Maynard, the 2004 Espy award for best athlete with a disability. The Courage Award for the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. He's been recognized by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, photographed by Bruce Webber for "Vanity Fair's" portfolio of 100 athletes. Now, Webber said even though Kyle wasn't going to the Olympics, which the portfolio was pegged to, he felt that Kyle best embodied the courage of those games, and there is his photograph of our guest, Kyle Maynard.
When you were playing football, weren't guys a little hesitant to hit you? I mean, you'd have to think, I'm a lineman, and you're a lineman, I'm not going to rack you.
K. MAYNARD: Right. A lot of guys were. But then, you know, I'd rack them, and as soon as I'd knock them over and make the tackle on the back, then that's when they started to take me seriously. And a lot of guys, you know, it's the same thing with wrestling. It's almost to my advantage the first time that I wrestle an opponent to go out there and put him on his back in the first 10 seconds, because he doesn't know.
KING: So you have an edge there.
K. MAYNARD: Yeah I do in that sense. Surprise.
KING: Didn't you get beat up a lot, though?
K. MAYNARD: I did. I broke both my feet. Actually, sprained one pretty bad, and the other one had a linesman lead drop on it. So it was tough playing that.
KING: You have cauliflower ear? You don't see that much.
K. MAYNARD: Right. I actually got that through wrestling. I never had a really serious injury through wrestling. I broke my nose my senior season, and that was about it. So football, the guys started to get too big, and I was still wrestling at 103 pounds up until my senior year, so I decided to focus on that all through high school and I love it.
KING: When you first went out for wrestling, didn't the coach say, are you kidding?
K. MAYNARD: No, he was really -- you know, he helped me so much. My coach, Cliff Ramos (ph), he's the biggest inspiration in my life. He'd tuck his arms up in his sleeves and roll around on the mat for my perspective. You know, I don't know anybody else that humble that would do that for somebody, just to give me especially the opportunity to succeed.
KING: Do you think like you got a dirty deal?
K. MAYNARD: No, not at all. I think...
KING: You don't think that at all?
K. MAYNARD: I think that I'm blessed by God really in the sense that I have the opportunity to reach out to people. I love the opportunity that I have to try to impact people's lives.
KING: You don't question faith?
K. MAYNARD: No, I don't. Because I know that everybody has a mission. And I think that it's up to me to be able to try to help certain people. And I think that the greatest compliment anybody can pay anybody else is when they tell you that you've had an impact on their life in some way or other.
KING: I noticed during the break you drank that water. Show them how you pick up the cup.
K. MAYNARD: Just like anybody else.
KING: Just like anybody else. OK, what about driving a car?
K. MAYNARD: That's my biggest challenge right now. I'm looking for a SUV, you know, if anybody happens to know how to adapt one. I don't want to drive a minivan. I just need a lift, really.
KING: So what kind of thing do you -- you want to buy an SUV?
K. MAYNARD: Buy an SUV.
KING: Do you have the money to buy one? Or could we help with that?
K. MAYNARD: Yeah, that too, that would be great. You know, I'm a college student.
KING: What do you have to do to the SUV?
K. MAYNARD: It's really simple. I got my driver's license already. I had to raise up the pedals, and that's about it. I think the simplicity in adapting things is the best bet. And that's all that I've had to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: Who do you want to contact you? The SUV manufacturer or people who sell SUVs? People want to reach Kyle, it's KMaynard -- one word -- just kmaynard.com. Right? Or you can contact us at CNN and we can get in touch with him. Do you want a manufacturer of this, can they adapt it? Or a dealer, or what? Or people who specialize in adapting automobiles?
K. MAYNARD: I think the specialists are best. I think that anybody who has the will power to do it can. I think that anybody can do just about anything. Makes you think that an engineer who's got an intuitive idea could probably handle it. But that's just -- that is my biggest obstacle at the moment.
KING: How did you get a driver's license?
K. MAYNARD: I took it on my parents' van. You know, I'm an 18- year-old kid who's reluctant to drive a minivan already.
KING: Reluctant why?
K. MAYNARD: Just because of the looks, you know. I want something kind of cool, and I've waited two and a half years for something, something pretty neat. And if I had to give up right now and get a minivan, that would be going against everything that I try to tell people, to change their life.
KING: How do you reach the brake?
K. MAYNARD: Raise the pedals. That's it. That's the only adaption. Put the seat up close and raise the pedals.
KING: So you do the gas with the hand?
K. MAYNARD: No. I do the gas and the brake with my feet, and drive with my arms.
KING: And work the steering wheel with your arms?
K. MAYNARD: Yes. I had a pretty tough character too that gave me the driver's test. So you know...
KING: So you got the same test everybody else did?
K. MAYNARD: I did, yes. The one my sister and I took was a little bit more stringent than others.
KING: Were you nervous?
K. MAYNARD: A little bit. I don't get nervous too often, but that, I have to say, I'd been working for.
KING: How old are your sisters?
K. MAYNARD: 16, Amber. She's a beautiful girl. We've got a real close relationship. Lindsay's a 13-year-old, and McKenzey (ph) is -- she's just turned 9. So she's really...
KING: How do they treat you?
K. MAYNARD: They have that love for me. And I have that love for them. Just like any brother relationship. You know, I think that they get a little bit annoyed at me sometimes, because I'm too protective. You know, I'd rather get after some of their boyfriends....
KING: Like the 16-year-old, who is dating?
K. MAYNARD: Right. Exactly. So I've got to approve of that before she ever goes out. But they're great girls.
KING: But they don't react to what might be called a deformity? Or you don't call it a deformity. What do you call it?
K. MAYNARD: I have no idea what to really coin it, just because I think that disability, you know, the word itself kind of limits me. I just think that it's just a congenital amputation. It is what it is. But they don't react any different than anybody else, or you might expect, rather. They treat me just like a brother, a normal brother. They're great girls.
KING: Do you think you have it better than like the Christopher Reeves?
K. MAYNARD: Oh, definitely. I really get a lot of inspiration from people who have such a positive attitude and have had to contend with things that I don't ever have to deal with.
KING: Like paralysis?
K. MAYNARD: Exactly.
KING: We'll be right back with Kyle Maynard. We'll include some of your phone calls. At the bottom of the hour, we'll meet his parents and his girlfriend. An extraordinary story tonight on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MAYNARD: My arms -- they're actually pretty unique, in a sense that I'm able to type, you know, and do some of the other things with them, you know, run as well without really, you know, any limitation through that. I have two sharp bones towards the end in the arm, and I can almost use those as like a dagger in wresting match in the sense that I can use it as -- my ability to type. It's not painful at all to run on wresting mats for me. You know, it's not painful at all to walk around ever day the way that I do on all fours, but these are just kind of things I've had to cope with. And you know, it's not really any big deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MAYNARD: I first started as a sixth grade wrestler. And halfway through any seventh grade season, I hadn't won a single match yet. I had lost 35 matches in a role, and I kept one goal, to never be pinned. I've still kept that goal to this day. The drive and inspiration for me was the fact that I knew that I was eventually going to close the gap between my opponents. The harder that I pushed myself, the more that I was going to be able to succeed out on the mat. And I knew there was a way for me to succeed, I just had to find that hard work inside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The video you're seeing was taken by both CNN and a lot of home video taken by his father, who we'll meet in a little while.
Our guest is Kyle Maynard. Again, if you have some information you can help Kyle, or you want to just get in touch with him, it's kmaynard no period, K-M-A-Y-N-A-R-D.com, Especially if you have information about an SUV that can be adapted to fit him to drive.
We will now take some phone calls for Kyle Maynard.
Phoenix, Arizona, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry and good evening, Kyle. You certainly are a great inspiration beyond words. My question would be, what would you say to people who are not disabled or have very little to complain about, and yet are constantly complaining?
K. MAYNARD: I think that it's very important to stay positive. I think that everybody has down points in their life, but it's really a matter of how you deal with that. How you can overcome that. And I think by staying positive and working hard, not making excuses for yourself, that's how you really overcome challenges and obstacles.
KING: Wright City, Oklahoma, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry, Kyle.
My question is, I'm wondering if you support stem-cell research in hopes that they may produce new limbs for amputees.
K. MAYNARD: That's a really, you know, it's controversial topic. And I think that there are very beneficial things that come along with the stem-cell research. I however am kind of impartial towards that. I just think if it's able to help somebody, then maybe it is a thing for the better.
KING: You said you feel like you're average. You don't think you're unique?
K. MAYNARD: No.
KING: How could you not think that? K. MAYNARD: I'm normal like anybody else. I think that -- that's what I want to be, just like anybody else. I want to be like my peers. I want to be like my teammates, just an average son, sibling.
KING: What are your motivational speeches about?
K. MAYNARD: I try to impact people, to let them know that at times of strife, sometimes you can't see any light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to keep fighting for it. And by using those principles of positive attitude, hard work, no excuses and not fearing challenges, that's how you find success.
KING: Who is your general health.
K. MAYNARD: It's great. I work out just about every day. And I don't have any health issues to contend with, just because I've got a strict regiment, strict diet.
KING: How do you -- do you -- are there -- you can scratch yourself, right, if you itch, right?
K. MAYNARD: Sure. Just like anybody else can. You know, if I can type 50 words a minute, then I'm able to do anything that anybody else can, really. I think that it's important to realize that people with disabilities oftentimes don't want to be coined as different from anybody else.
KING: The bottom part ends above the knee?
K. MAYNARD: It does. But I do actually have feet. And I have the adult to use that. And I've got grip with that on the wrestling mat. I just think that I try to use every ounce of my body to be successful on the mat.
KING: We have another call, I didn't get the city.
Somewhere in Michigan, hello.
Yes, go ahead.
K. MAYNARD: Hey.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: Hi, Kyle.
K. MAYNARD: Hey.
CALLER: My question for Kyle is, how old were you when you learned to drive, and...
KING: What? Don't listen to yourself, just turn down the TV and ask the question. CALLER: How old were you when you learned to drive?
KING: How old were you?
K. MAYNARD: I was actually 16-years-old when I started to, and I didn't get my license until I was about 18, just because we had to find a way. And there were so many contraptions that these people wanted to put on my vehicle. I was actually driving with a joystick at one point in time. I said, this is too much, I don't want to have the computer freeze and have to alt control and delete going down the highway. So, I decided to raise the pedals up and I'm able to do that.
KING: How are you treated at airports?
K. MAYNARD: Treated great. I get to be ushered through security, just get a pat-down and I'm through. Actually live at the airport, so I got to know most of the people at the Hartsfield Atlanta Airport by first name now.
KING: You've got a test tomorrow morning at the University of Georgia, so you're flying the red eye out tonight.
K. MAYNARD: Yes, 8:00 a.m.
KING: Do they ever pat you down?
K. MAYNARD: They do. They do just to see if I've
KING: Some sort of terrorist?
K. MAYNARD: Exactly.
KING: Las Cruces, New Mexico.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, Kyle.
K. MAYNARD: Hey.
CALLER: Hey, I was just -- first of all, I'd like to tell you, I mean, I really think everybody that you do is just awesome man. I mean, I can't get over it. The people that are capable of doing so much and they don't. And you that are limited -- you do so much more.
K. MAYNARD: Thank you.
CALLER: What I wanted to ask you is, was there ever a time where you felt that it was just too much and it was just too hard and you just couldn't do anything or you felt you couldn't do something?
KING: Wasn't there point where you said, this -- I can't do this?
K. MAYNARD: Sure, there was. The biggest point in my life when I knew that I had to sacrifice for something was when I started wrestling. I was a sixth grader and I lost about the first 35 matches I ever competed in. And wrestling is not a sport where you can blame a loss on someone else. I was getting my butt kicked 35 times, every time I went out there. And I knew by working harder than my opponents I was going to find that success.
KING: But you had to be a little down.
K. MAYNARD: I was, big time down. But I think that's when adversity is staring you in the face, that's when you find out what you're made of.
KING: We'll take a break and when we come back, we'll meet Kyle's parents and his girlfriend.
The parents are in Atlanta, the girlfriend is in Rochester, New York. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MAYNARD, KYLE'S FATHER: So when he was a baby, this was about -- this was one of them. We had a bunch of them. But this is what he used to eat. And we'd leave it at a restaurant or we'd live it at a friend's house. And people would tend to help him eat, feed him, with a fork and spoon. And he was probably about two years old. And then finally, I just said, to Anita, I said, he's not going to be able to drag this thing around with the rest of his life, so we have to let him figure out how to eat and that's basically what he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MAYNARD: The legs are really just -- they encumber me to the point where I couldn't really move around with them. If I was seated I couldn't get up. I always needed assistance to walk if I didn't have my walker there. It was really problematic for me. Because it wasn't practical at all. I just couldn't use them. They weren't going to work for me every day. And when I didn't have them on at home, I was happy. I was able to run around free. That's what I assume you had to learn is that by accepting myself, that other people around me were going to accept me as well. That's kind of the same logic that I use to this day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You were some cute kid. Joining us now from Atlanta is Anita Maynard and Scott Maynard, the parents of this extraordinary young man, Kyle Maynard. In Rochester, New York, Elizabeth Tota who is Kyle's girlfriend. Elizabeth, before we talk to Anita and Scott, how did you meet Kyle?
ELIZABETH TOTA, KYLE MAYNARD'S GIRLFRIEND: I actually just met Kyle -- he came to my school to give a speech. And it was just kind of one of those things where I was very inspired by his talk. It just kind of -- it took my breath away, actually. I was crying. I was very emotional about it. It just hit me right in my heart.
KING: So you went back to meet him?
TOTA: Yes, I definitely -- I went back to class and I kept saying, I want to know more about this kid. I went back the second time. He had another talk. I walked down to the end of the stage. I did the whole autograph thing like everybody else was doing. We started talking and taking pictures. And I was just totally taken away by just some of the things that he was saying to me.
KING: How serious is this?
TOTA: Our relationship, you mean?
TOTA: I feel that it's a very serious thing. He's a wonderful person to be with. He's very uplifting. He always knows the right thing to say at the right time. He's just the kind of person that you just want everybody to know.
KING: Do you want to get married, Kyle?
K. MAYNARD: I do. Eventually. And I think that she's a very special girl. And she's the most remarkable girl I've ever been with.
KING: Are you concerned about having children?
K. MAYNARD: No, there's no real concern there. Just because doctors have said it's just kind of a genetic anomaly, that it's not going to happen again.
KING: You don't have any problem performing in the physical act of creating the child.
K. MAYNARD: No. If I can't...
KING: What are you laughing at? It's a logical question. People are thinking it. You don't have a problem?
K. MAYNARD: No, not at all. If I can wrestle, then I'm able to.
KING: I guess. In fact, it might be rougher. Anita, what was it like when Kyle was born? What was it like for you?
ANITA MAYNARD, KYLE MAYNARD'S MOTHER: What was it like?
KING: You had no pretests so you didn't know this would be the result?
A. MAYNARD: Right. The day that he was born, we basically just focused on his gorgeous face. He was a very beautiful baby. Blonde hair, blue eyed. And that's really what we just focused on was on his gorgeous face. KING: No regrets, no crying, no sadness?
A. MAYNARD: Of course there were regrets that everything, you know, wasn't exactly the way it was planned. But you know, there's a lot of people out there that go through children with -- having children with birth defects every day. And you get through it. You just know that -- we believed that God sent Kyle here on earth for a purpose. And we were going to find out what that purpose was.
KING: What was it like for you, Scott?
S. MAYNARD: When he was born? Well, really, you asked the question about the ultrasound tests. And he had an ultrasound done at about 11 weeks or so. And they had a little trouble finding some of his limbs. Well, because they weren't there. And that was really the only notion that we had that there was an issue. But when he was born, the doctors -- immediately we knew there was something wrong. They bundled him up, and ran him off to the ICU to make sure everything was OK. And as it turns out, everything is OK. It's not even really a genetic issue. We had a genetic study done. The odds of it happening again with any of the other -- the girls that we had were probably the same as any other person in the country.
KING: How, Scott, do you explain his extraordinary attitude?
S. MAYNARD: I think Kyle, he's just got all the right stuff. As a baby, he was always upbeat. He was always willing to try new things. And he's just got a really great work ethic. He works really hard. And the whole thing with the wrestling concerned me a little bit. Because of the fact that it's such a personal type of a sport. It's one of them -- one of the sports where, you know, it's an individual sport. And you know, when you lose, you for the most part lose on your own. And that was the biggest concern I had about that. And I think the thing that came out of it, though, was that he persevered through it. And I think it made him a much stronger person.
KING: Anita, how do you explain it? His remarkable attitude, ability, personality. It's incredible.
A. MAYNARD: I would like to think that Scott and I and his grandparents, all of his grandparents, and all of our family had a lot to do with it. We just treated him as normal, and he was loved by a lot of people when he was a baby. I'd like to think that we had a little bit to do with that.
KING: I'm sure you did. Elizabeth who had problems taking tests. You told "USA Today," quote, this is your quote, his girlfriend speaking, "he's adamant about making me a success. Every time I think I can't take a test, he tells me I can do it, that I can do anything. And of course I look at him and believe it." How's she doing, Kyle?
K. MAYNARD: She's great. She is doing really great. She's improved a lot. We've been working together a lot this semester. And I'm really very proud of her and the effort she's put forth. KING: How do you work it with you in Atlanta and she's in Rochester?
K. MAYNARD: We can just talk. We can talk about...
TOTA: We do a lot of phone calls.
K. MAYNARD: Hours.
TOTAL: Hours of phone calls.
KING: Are you making plans? When are you through with school, Elizabeth?
TOTA: I'll be done in June this year. I'll be graduating in June. From Pennfield High School (ph). I'll go on to be a freshman at MCC.
KING: So you're a little young to get married now.
TOTA: Just a little. We have a few more years to work on that.
KING: Scott, what do you think of this relationship?
S. MAYNARD: When Kyle came back, he said, dad, I met somebody. And so I -- I think it's fantastic. We actually haven't -- we've spoken with Elizabeth on the phone too and seen pictures that Kyle's had. But how can you -- it's great to see you, Elizabeth.
TOTA: Thank you, it's great to see you guys too.
KING: So you haven't met yet.
S. MAYNARD: No, no.
TOTA: We have not officially met. First time via satellite. Very exciting.
KING: Why don't you come down for Christmas? Why don't you go to Atlanta for Christmas?
TOTA: Kyle's coming up here for Christmas.
K. MAYNARD: I actually get to -- the opportunity I've been afforded through speaking has really given me the chance to carry on this long distance relationship. Because every time I go on a speaking tour, I'm able to take a flight up to Rochester and spend the weekend with her.
KING: We'll take calls for this whole group in a minute. Let me tell you though if you've got any way you can help with the SUV, that would be great. If they can accommodate the SUV so that -- he wants an SUV. So that Kyle can drive it. You can contact him at KMaynard.com. Or contact us here at CNN and we'll get information over to them. We'll take calls for the Maynards and for Elizabeth right after this. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MAYNARD: It's really been tremendous, wrestling. Because I'm able to have a strength advantage over a lot of my opponents in the sense that wrestling 125 pounders, I can have more muscle per weight ratio than these guys are able to. So it kind of balances out that way. I've always thought it would be equilibrium. For lifting, cardio, different things that I do in the weight room, pays off on the mat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're told, Kyle, that there's a brotherhood of wrestlers. You're all friends, help each other, get along.
K. MAYNARD: It's incredible. Some of these wrestlers are my heroes. I look up to them. Cael Sanderson who is 159 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) college. He was an Olympic champion this year. I think he's the greatest athlete in the world. And also Randy Couture who is another one of my inspirations. He's a five-time ultimate fighting world champion. And made the transition from being a world class wrestler.
KING: That wrestler who hit his head and got amnesia, you called him?
K. MAYNARD: I'm going to. I want to try to help each reach out to him. I just -- the kid loves the sport. And he lost something through the sport. And I've only gained through the sport. So I can only do well to help him.
KING: Before we take another call for the whole family and Anita, Scott, and Elizabeth, Kyle can sign his name. I want to show how you do this. There's the pen. Let the camera get on you.
"Thank you, Larry. Kyle Maynard."
Let's take a call. Sacramento, California. Hello. Sacramento, are you there? Sacramento? Goodbye.
Athens, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Hello. How are you doing, man?
KING: Go ahead, what's your question?
CALLER: Nice to meet you guys. I've got a question for you, Kyle. When your parent -- when did your parents first realize that they couldn't -- that they had to kind of give up on helping you out? Because when you were young and they figured out that they couldn't help you because you had to live like this forever, how did -- when did they understand they had to kind of let you go and do what you -- if you fell down the stairs or something, they couldn't pick you up because they knew that you were going to have to do that forever? When did they understand that was what they had to do?
KING: Good question. Let's ask the parents. Scott?
S. MAYNARD: Well really, from the time he was born, we just let him do whatever he wanted to do. Just like any other kid. And really, the only thing -- they showed the little section about the spoon. That was an adaption that we just chose to get rid of just because we knew he was going to have to take care of himself eventually. And from birth, really, I think is the answer to that question. We just let him do what he could do.
KING: Anita, when did you realize he was, for want of a better word, remarkable?
A. MAYNARD: Just probably about the time he was three I realized that he was really -- or maybe two he was really going to do a lot more than I certainly would have ever thought at birth. He held a crayon and started scribbling like any other toddler would. And I told him to color in the lines, and he started coloring in the lines. From then on, he went and -- so really, and video games. He's wonderful at video games. He beat every kid in the neighborhood. So he's able to do the little controls and the Nintendo and whatever. So from the time he was two or three, he just really started doing what all the other toddlers were doing.
KING: Elizabeth, what kind of speechmaker is he? You said you were riveted, you went back, that's how you met. What are his speeches like?
TOTA: His speeches are absolutely incredible. Anybody that can have the chance to listen to Kyle, whether it's 45-minute speech, or whether it's 10 minutes in the lunch room or at his house, he puts his words together very well and makes a very coherent speech, which just blows people away.
KING: Does it hurt your hands to walk on them?
K. MAYNARD: Not at all. I've got -- I'm pretty well calloused up. I'm able to be as rough as I want with it. I've never really had any injury to the end of my arms. And they're sensitive enough where I can type 50 words a minute or use them like a dagger in the wrestling match to put somebody in pain.
KING: Albuquerque, New Mexico, hello.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. My question is to you tonight, that my 12-year-old son, who absolutely loves sports, wants to play football. He would like to know, this is an advantage or disadvantage in your wrestling in how it affects you?
K. MAYNARD: I think it evens out, really. In the end. I think because I work so much harder in the weight room and the wrestling practice mats, that any advantage that I have going into the match, or disadvantage rather, is canceled out by the fact that I want to work harder than my opponents. I know that's where I'm going to find I'll beat a lot of them. Just because when the third period comes and they're gassing out, I know I'm going to push them harder.
KING: Baltimore, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Kyle. I just wanted to ask you, what is your faith? Have you ever blamed God for what has happened?
K. MAYNARD: No, I'm very, very strong Christian. I believe that God's given me a lot of blessings. He's really helped me out in my everyday walk of life.
KING: He didn't give you a blessing at birth though?
K. MAYNARD: We have to have a crutch, though, at times. And I have -- I do believe that I was blessed in the sense that the challenges that I have to face in life really mold the person that I've become today. I think without that, then I wouldn't have ever been able to succeed.
KING: You think you're a better person because of this?
K. MAYNARD: I think that people that face adversity, that's how you really measure yourself.
S. MAYNARD: Larry...
KING: We'll be back -- go ahead, Scott.
S. MAYNARD: If I've got a second real quick here, one of the things that has always been about Kyle is his ability to impact people. And when he says that he thinks that this is a result of God's will, we really believe that. He's been able to impact and touch more lives by the time he was probably 3 years old than I ever will. And that's a blessing.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Kyle Maynard and his parents, Anita and Scott Maynard, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Tota. And you're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you can see, he's already compact, very strong. He can get his arms around you, and it's like being in a vice. One of his best moves is you get underneath him, he'll climb down on your head and basically wants -- makes you want to turn over right there. You almost want to cry. You can't tolerate it real well, because there's nothing really to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it with, and once you've (UNINTELLIGIBLE), he'll clamp down your arm. And once you're off your arm, you pretty much lost it against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MAYNARD: It was my father who said that -- lovingly, that I was going to have to learn how to eat on my own, or I was going to starve. Just because he knew that the world wasn't going to be tailored for me and my everyday needs. So in that same light, you know, now that I'm on my own, there's not going to be anybody there to help me with anything at all. So I've had to figure out ways to do everything on my own. And eating was something, you know, as a young child, that I had to figure out, just because I was always out with friends. My parents weren't there to help me. I just needed to have that reassurance of accomplishment, being able to just feed myself on my own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You use chopsticks?
K. MAYNARD: Never have been able to use chopsticks.
KING: San Francisco. Finally we found something. San Francisco, hello.
CALLER: OK, hi. My name is Louise (ph).
KING: What's your question?
CALLER: OK, hi. My name's Louise (ph). And I had a question for Kyle.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: And I'm 16. And I was -- oh. Oh. And I'm a female wrestler. And I was just wondering, I work really hard on the mat. And I was wondering if Kyle had any words of wisdom for me, like so I could use when I'm wrestling.
K. MAYNARD: Oh, definitely.
KING: Female wrestler, 16.
K. MAYNARD: I think that that's one of the most important things in the sport right now is the fact that women have gotten involved and really taken it to the next level, as far as media attention is going.
But then really, when you're out there, you know, it's hard. And there's times -- we're in one of the hardest and oldest sports in the world, but you have to have that respect for it and you know that it's one-on-one combat. And only the person who wants it more is going to come out in the end. And I think that you have that desire. And if you go out there with the will to succeed, then I think you're going to win.
KING: Anita and Scott, thank you so much for being with us tonight. You must be awfully proud of Kyle, as I know you are of your other kids.
S. MAYNARD: Absolutely.
KING: But he's an extraordinary story. S. MAYNARD: Absolutely. Thank you, Larry. Thank you for having it.
A. MAYNARD: Thank you.
KING: You two have done a great job.
And Elizabeth, no matter how this turns out in the future, good luck to you. It's a great way you met. You're a little young now, but who knows.
TOTA: Thank you very much.
KING: And Kyle, what can we say? Nothing but the best.
K. MAYNARD: Thank you very much, Larry.
KING: Thank you, man.
Kyle Maynard. And again, if you want information about Kyle or can help with an SUV, it would be an important step for him. And certainly important for all of us here to make this possible, Kmaynard.com.
I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: It's an hour of sadness for Dick Ebersol. We want to wish him and the family the best, about this airplane tragedy. A great friend and a good guy for everybody in media. Dick Ebersol. I wish him nothing but the best.
Tammy Faye Messner tomorrow night gets us up to date on how she's doing with her battle against cancer, and our man who battles the elements every night but forges forth, the host of "NEWSNIGHT," Aaron Brown. Another night, another week, here we are.
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