As if training to be a surgeon wasn’t cool enough, Regions Hospital resident Cody Sessions, MD, has also been training to be an American Ninja Warrior in his spare time.

But his story’s even cooler than that.

In May 2018, Dr. Sessions was in fact picked to compete in a taping of this highly competitive sports entertainment show. And that has pulled Regions into the limelight with him!

Dr. Sessions is part of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He’s in the class of 2022. And he’s completing his residency with shifts at both Regions and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

Dr. Sessions had his first official run with American Ninja Warrior when the show came to Minneapolis on May 26. Filming took place at U.S. Bank Stadium in the middle of the night. And while not everyone who competes in a taping makes it into the show that later airs, Dr. Sessions was indeed chosen for the July 9 episode.

It wasn’t just Dr. Sessions’ athleticism on the obstacle courses that secured him the primetime spot. It was also his compelling personal story. (The fact that the American Ninja Warrior film crew could come to Regions to capture a glimpse into his life as a surgeon helped, too!)

4 things to know about the ninja among us, Dr. Cody Sessions

1. American Ninja Warrior isn’t Dr. Sessions’ first time doing extreme sports

Dr. Sessions snowboarded competitively growing up. He lived in Colorado and spent much of his time on the slopes in the Rocky Mountains. That continued in college when he was part of the Colorado State University snowboard team. Now, he also enjoys wakeboarding and surfing whenever he gets a chance. Where adrenaline leads, Dr. Sessions will follow – one could say.

2. He’s a busy man

When he applied for American Ninja Warrior, Dr. Sessions said he worked as a “resident by day and by night.” And over the past six months, he’s used his spare time between shifts to work out at a local ninja training gym. After submitting a try-out video, Dr. Sessions found out he had made the cut to compete at the Minneapolis taping in a surprise visit from KARE 11:

3. His patients inspire him

Dr. Sessions has wanted to be on American Ninja Warrior for years. But he hadn’t actively pursued that dream due to his busy schedule.The patients he serves, however, were the ones who in the end finally pushed him to try out. “Every day I work with kids as they overcome physical hardships and surgeries. And that has taught me the importance of chasing your dreams. My patients show me how you can conquer challenges and shine even when the deck seems stacked against you,” Dr. Sessions says.

4. His goal is to help kids in developing countries

Dr. Sessions enjoys his time caring for patients of all ages at Regions and Gillette. But the main reason he became a surgeon was to help treat kids in nations with limited access to health care. So far, Dr. Sessions has been all around the world to do mission work. In many countries across Africa, he’s even had the chance to help out with orthopedic surgeries. It’s clear – there’s not much this ninja can’t do.

Lights, camera, action: A behind-the-scenes look at the day American Ninja Warrior came to film at Regions Hospital

A handful of these fun facts about Dr. Sessions have been woven into his contestant hometown spotlight. That’s the part of the show that airs just before his run does. To get shots for this peek into Dr. Sessions’ day-to-day life, a camera crew set up shop at Regions for five hours on May 30.

The crew followed Dr. Sessions around to show him doing his thing as an orthopedic surgeon. To show where he practices, they filmed Dr. Sessions outside on the hospital grounds. They got footage of him working in the Radiology department. And they also got shots of him in Gillette’s surgery simulation and training space.

Regions has seen a lot in its 146-year history, but hosting an American Ninja Warrior film crew was definitely a first. It’s something that will be hard to forget – for our colleagues as well as the crew. That’s because, as they headed over to Regions, one of the crew members felt a pain in his side. It was something he’d experienced before: the start of a kidney stone.

Luckily, he was in the right place at the right time! The crew dropped him off in the Regions Emergency Department. There, he was seen and treated. And in just a few hours, he was back in his hotel room to rest. He said his experience at Regions was “excellent.” And our care teams said they expected he would be back filming in no time.

But will it be back to life as usual for Dr. Sessions, too? Or will he make it into the next round of the competition and become an American Ninja Warrior sensation? Until the July 9 episode airs, few people will know for sure as Dr. Sessions was sworn to secrecy when it came to the details of his run. Yet we are sure of one thing: he will without a doubt shine as a member of Team Regions.