Thursday, November 27, 2008


A stunt-mad teenager with Spina Bifida has become the first person to pull off a back-flip in a wheelchair.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Fotheringham - known as 'Wheels' - got official recognition last month, even though he has been doing them for two years. He takes his specially made wheelchair on to skate ramps in Las Vegas, where he has become a something of a celebrity in the skate scene. He said: "It feels awesome to have the record." Aaron invented a sport that he calls "hardcore sitting" - using a wheelchair to perform moves more often seen done on skateboards or BMX bikes. He has been doing stunts since the age of nine when his elder brother Brian took him to their local skate park. Brian encouraged him to go down a ramp and the obsession was born. Now Aaron gets flown all over the world to perform stunts and spends at least three hours a day practising. He has become a role model to many young people who use wheelchairs. He said: "Everyone thinks 'oh you're disabled that's such a terrible thing' but I think it's positive. It's like being able to carry your skateboard everywhere with you. "People don't realise how much can be done in a chair." He added: "I get little kids telling me they like being in their chair now. It feels so cool to get people interested in hardcore sitting." Just like skaters, Aaron said he has had his fair share of falls. "I've shattered my elbow and had concussion too many times to count," he said. But he has become so good that he has won a sponsor, Colours Inc., that supplied him with his £5,300 ($8,000) reinforced aluminium wheelchair.

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