18 August 2008

Aaron Fortheringham

16-year-old Las Vegas native Aaron Fotheringham is not your typical teenager. Stricken with spina bifida, a birth defect that results in an underdeveloped spinal cord, Aaron began using a wheelchair in combination with crutches by the age of three. By the time Aaron was eight, he was confined to a wheelchair full-time.

Growing up, Aaron would accompany his brother to the local skate park and watch him do tricks on his BMX bike. At the encouragement of his brother, one day Aaron attempted to ride his wheelchair up and down the park’s ramps. Needless to say, he became addicted to this newfound hobby.

Realizing that his current wheelchair was too unsafe for this kind of activity, Aaron’s parents contacted Colours In Motion, a company known for making products for wheelchair-bound athletes. Aaron received a new wheelchair constructed of lightweight, durable material with a four-wheel suspension. With this sort of stability, Aaron was able to practice many of the stunts that skateboarders and BMX riders are capable of.

Aaron honed his craft until he was confident enough to begin entering competitions. Presently, he competes against BMX riders in the Vegas Am Jam series and considers himself an “extreme” wheelchair athlete.

Aaron, who has coined his sport “hardcore sitting,” made headlines all over the world when he posted a clip of himself performing a back flip on the popular video website YouTube. He claims to be the first person in a wheelchair to ever accomplish such a feat. Aaron’s other specialty is known as a 180-degree “aerial,” a trick where he spins around 180 degrees while in midair. Aaron plans to pull off a new move, where he incorporates the aerial into his back flip, that he calls the “flair.”

Aaron now collaborates with Colours In Motion to enhance the design of their manual wheelchairs, particularly for everyday circumstances. Meanwhile, the company sponsors him with a custom competition chair that is practically indestructible.

Aaron sets a good example for other extreme athletes by suggesting that anyone attempting these dangerous stunts wear protective headgear. He has been the victim of multiple injuries while performing tricks, of which the most severe was a broken elbow. To reduce the risk of injury, Aaron tests new tricks by landing on cushions first. Then, he moves on to a more rigid plastic surface atop the cushions before finally trying them out on the normal ramp.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, keep on keeping on Aaron and I wish you all the best for the future!!!!!