With hard work and support Martinez persevered, landing an acting job on the ABC soap opera All My Children and becoming a motivational speaker in 2008, leading to his victorious run on DWTS.
Speaking with Oprah's Where Are They Now?, Martinez admits that after his traumatic injury and before his acting and speaking careers took off, he had his share of doubts about his life and his future.
"It was a year after my injury, and I was in his space of a young 20-year-old where I was kind of learning that I had this potential to influence simply by using my story," Martinez explained in the special. "At the same time, underneath all of that, there still was an element of the darkness."
Check out the video to hear more from Martinez about the challenges and obstacles he faced to become the success he is today.
Oprah: Where Are They Now? will air this Saturday at 10 p.m. on OWN.