SPRING — An athlete as tough as nails who’s back is strengthened by rods and screws is now overcoming her latest hurdle.

Leah Smith, 15, is a national-level gymnast who is two years removed from an extensive back surgery to correct her spondylolysis with spondylolisthesis. A doctor had previously told her she could no longer do gymnastics because she had fractured her back and a vertebrae had slipped onto another one.

RELATED: Young gymnast has incredible back story

Leah, who trains at AIM Athletics, now says her back is much better. She advanced to nationals this past season and committed to University of California-Berkeley.

However, she lost her grandfather in a horrific car wreck last December. The man who caused the deadly seven-car pileup on the Grand Parkway pleaded guilty recently and has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Leah now carries her grandfather’s ashes in a locket necklace everywhere she goes.

ALSO POPULAR ON KHOU.COM: