Phoenix - Daniel Moreno, 33, was an elite-trained Army veteran with his sights set on a long career defending our country. But instead, he ended up trading in one "battlefield" for another and overcoming some incredible odds to do it.
Seven years ago, Moreno was a Combat Engineer earning his stripes as part of an elite group of war fighters called the Sappers.
"They're an expert in mobility, counter mobility, and survivability," Moreno said.
Little did the Staff Sergeant know how much those skills would be worth in the years to come. "I was on track," Moreno recalled. "I was knocking out schools like nothing."
In late 2010, however, his world fell out of balance when doctors discovered a very serious condition affecting his brain. A fragile cluster of blood vessels in his brain called an AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation) was in danger of rupturing.
His surgery and subsequent recovery were seen as nothing short of miraculous according to Moreno's doctor.
Moreno remembers his doctor saying, "the last time I saw you, you were on my table dying!"
He was alive, but the illness cost him his Army career. Undaunted, Moreno turned to something that would ultimately become a lifesaver- American Ninja Warrior.
"My goal was to be an elite soldier, and the AVM stopped that," Moreno said. "So, I might as well take my shot trying to be an elite ninja."
For the past two years he's been on a mission to claim his "spot" as an American Ninja Warrior. And back in March, he did just that.
Moreno couldn't reveal too much about his appearance on the summer season debut. But he did hint, "I think people are going to be pretty surprised and excited to see how I did."
Becoming an elite, American Ninja Warrior is Moreno's goal, but so is getting his remarkably inspiring story out to as many people possible.
"That would make me feel awesome, amazing, on top of the world," Moreno said. "So when that happens...yeah, I'm going to be really excited."
Moreno said he waited in the "walk-on line" for three weeks in Los Angeles to ensure his chance to try his crazy, ninja skills on this year's obstacle course.
© 2017 KPNX-TV